About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.
Directed by Reginald Hudlin and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff, the film stars Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. It also stars Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown and James Cromwell. We sat down with acclaimed director/writer Reginald Hudlin, read our interview after the jump.
The Knockturnal: How much prep and research goes into a film like this because it’s based on accurate, real-life events?
Reginald Hudlin: There’s a lot of research, I’m researching as a director, the actors are researching their individual characters and the time. Then the crew, the costume department pulling stuff from – no, no, no, that’s 1950! The musicians are listening to jazz from the 1940s, are immersing themselves in Duke Ellington. So, everyone is sinking into the era which is one of the greatest periods in American history.
The Knockturnal: What do you love most about this era?
Reginald Hudlin: Is it between the music or the clothes? That’s a tough choice. Those suits are dope. But man, that swing? Not mad at that either.
The Knockturnal: What do you love most about Mr. Marshall? Everyone knows him; he’s an iconic figure in American history. But what do you love most about him?
Reginald Hudlin: What I loved, and I tried to express that love in the movie, was taking him off the pedestal. And we see him as a young man with swagger. He jokes way more jokes than people now, he flirts, he fights, he smokes, he drinks, he’s a dude. And at the same time, the smartest guy in the room of any room he’s in. He’s kind of got it all. I mean he’s a real-life superhero.
The Knockturnal: Was it a challenge for you having Chadwick not speak as much?
Reginald Hudlin: That is the challenge of the movie. You have one of the greatest orators – who’s gagged. When Chadwick first read the script, he’s like, what’s this? I’m thinking I was going to have these great courtroom speeches, and I don’t. And then he realized, that’s the ultimate challenge of the actor, and to his credit, you feel him still being the quarterback, still being the architect, while silent. There’s so many things that’s happening in that courtroom. What’s going on with him, what’s going on with Sterling Brown, is he innocent or guilty, what’s going on with Kate Hudson, she sits there with her husband. And here’s Josh, who’s ever tried a criminal case. All these pieces are swirling around at every time. That’s a lot of suspense. A lot going on. Dan Stevens, who we love, playing the worst guy.
The Knockturnal: Because of what’s going on in the world today, did that reflect your reasoning behind doing Marshall?
Reginald Hudlin: Freedom isn’t free. And I believe that every generation is going to have to fight these battles over and over again. You can say that’s not fair, but it is what it is. It’s time for our generation to go, you know what, Thurgood Marshall took the promise of American democracy; of all men are created equal, and made it a reality. Because it wasn’t before him. He made it so. That has to be renewed. Like a driver’s license. So, it’s time for us to step up.
Open Road Films and BazanED today recently nationwide student initiative surrounding the October 13, 2017, release of the new motion picture Marshall, which tells the story of a pivotal case in U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s early law career.
The national education program includes pre-release screenings of Marshall for 11th and 12th graders in seventeen (17) U.S. cities to take place on October 2, which marks the 50th anniversary of the day Thurgood Marshall was sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court as its first African American associate justice. Select screenings will be followed by a moderated post-screening discussion with historians, judges, attorneys and more. Open Road Films is also providing bus transportation to all participating schools in need. The student outreach program is accompanied by educational curricula developed by BazanED and available to the education community at BazanED.com. The company has also developed curricula for lower-grade students to encourage school districts across the country to honor Marshall by teaching about his life, times and accomplishments on October 2nd.
“Marshall is a riveting piece of entertainment, but it also tells the story of a vitally important and hugely influential American with whom all students should be familiar,” said Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg. “We are thrilled to present the film to high schoolers for reflection and discussion, and work with BazanED, which brings its expertly crafted teaching materials to classrooms everywhere in conjunction with the film.”
“Thurgood Marshall is a real-life superhero, and this movie is a great way for kids to be introduced to a great American without feeling lectured to,” said Marshall Director Reginald Hudlin. “The movie is fun and exciting, but, both kids and adults learn a lot while having a good time, which is what education should be.”
The program’s special screenings will take place in African-American museums and other prominent educational and cultural institutions, as well as commercial theaters. Screenings have been scheduled in New York, Compton, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Palm Beach, Pittsburgh, San Francisco/Oakland, Denver, Kansas City, New