*With critically-acclaimed work in two successful biopics, Chadwick Boseman is riding a good wave in Hollywood.
So it comes as no surprise that the 32-year-old “Get On Up” and “42” star be among those in the minds of moviegoers who may be thinking about the next group of actors to fill Denzel Washington’s shoes. However, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, pickings are slim.
“When you look at the landscape of up-and-coming talent, besides Chadwick and Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”), there really aren’t a lot of names that come to mind, and that’s an area of concern for us,” African American Film Critics Association president Gil Robertson told the publication. “We haven’t really done enough to cultivate the next generation. It’s one thing to appear in a movie here or there, but it’s another to really build a rich career.”
Robertson may have a point. The current group of black actors, which include Don Cheadle, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman and Forest Whitaker as well as Will Smith and Eddie Murphy, are all over the age of 40. To highlight the point further are a handful of actors from today’s generation that may be able to carry the torch.
Boseman is one, along with Jordan, John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Omar Sy and Damon Wayans Jr. For Clint Culpepper, the issue is being able to get past race in order to find someone who can bring fans to the theaters and money in the pockets of studios.
“What I keep saying is we have to look at roles that are written and not assume that just because they don’t say African-American or they don’t say black, we can’t cast African-Americans,” the Screen Gems president explained. “
Despite the talent of Boseman and the others, the Reporter noted how “Hollywood follows the money,” while acknowledging that “no under-35 black star has carried a global mega-grossing film in recent years.
“None besides perhaps Mackie carry name recognition with general audiences,” the publication stated as it acknowledged the popularity of Kevin Hart in the U.S. and the challenge for him and other black actors to make an impact with audiences overseas.
“That’s been the final frontier — to have films that have leads of color perform well around the world,” film producer Will Packer (“Ride Along”) says. “I think that will come. I think part of it will be the studios getting behind those films and not allowing it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy that those films don’t work.”
Hmm, interestingly Idris Elbas‘ name didn’t come up in the conversation. In any event, check out more of the piece by Rebecca Ford at the Hollywood Reporter.