Yesha Callahan

Chadwick Boseman To Play Thurgood Marshall In Upcoming Film

Getty Images/Wikipedia

Getty Images/Wikipedia

Chadwick Boseman has quickly become this generation’s go-to guy for portraying historical figures after gaining critical acclaim for his role as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get On Up, but this latest casting has a few people scratching their heads. According to Deadline, Boseman has been cast to play Thurgood Marshall in the upcoming film by Reginald Hudlin, Marshall.

As you know, Marshall was the first African-American justice to serve on the United States Supreme Court. He was also quite fair-skinned which is the point of contingency in this casting, sparking unprecedented concern in Hollywood where the complaint is typically about a light-skinned or white actor being cast to play someone darker. Nevertheless, Hudlin is confident in Boseman’s ability to portray the iconic justice in the film which will center on an important case that occurred early in his career, long before he was appointed to the Supreme Court.

“As the nation teeters on the brink of WWII, a nearly bankrupt NAACP sends Marshall to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur against his wealthy socialite employer in a sexual assault and attempted murder trial that quickly became tabloid fodder. In need of a high-profile victory but muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall is partnered with Samuel Friedman, a young Jewish lawyer who has never tried a case. Marshall and Friedman struggle against a hostile storm of fear and prejudice, driven to discover the truth in the sensationalized trial which helped set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement to come.”

Hudlin is set to begin directing the flick in LA this week and will resume work in the spring following his producing duties for the Academy Awards, Deadline reported.  This will certainly be an interested project to watch unfold.

  1. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Just to be the “ish” starter of the day … but I bet there will be no threats of boycotts or long articles or comment threads regarding the fact that a darker skinned black man is portraying a very fair skinned man in a film. Nor will you hear/see my fellow yellows all bent out of shape and butt-hurt over it…. but I digress

    • December 17, 2015 - Reply

      @Kwazi Style

      There is no reason for any of that. I haven’t noticed any trend to make dark skin black people the standard for representation of blackness in Hollywood the way there has been light skinned and biracial blacks. So there really is no reason for anyone to be “butt hurt” over this one anomaly. And I say that as a black woman who would be considered the “right” complexion for Hollywood. Everything shouldn’t be about how the light or dark skinned black people feel about a particular issue. We should all see the value in making sure that all black people are represented in film and television.

      • December 17, 2015 - Reply

        @Ang

        I 100% agree. I was being sarcastic in my original remarks, though I thought it would spark a great conversation and it has.

        • December 17, 2015 - Reply

          @Kwazi Style

          Yeah I know but I wanted to state my piece for the record anyway. This really wasn’t a conversation that needed to be sparked.

    • December 17, 2015 - Reply

      @Kwazi Style

      You gots to be kidding, right?

    • December 17, 2015 - Reply

      @Kwazi Style

      Expressing concern over the pervasiveness off colorism in media does not equal ” all bent out of shape and butt-hurt over’ So your choice of words is well …..telling
      For the record I believe Chad was miscast as stated above colorism in the media tends to works in favor of dark men /against light skin men but against dark skin woman / in favor t of light skin women
      Neither is right.
      Finally I wish we would stop framing colorism discussions in a divisive us vs them manner ( fellow yellows ? ) when it is fact just the opposite it is an INCLUSIVE issue , where we respect that as black people we are not a monolith , we come in every color of the rainbow and all shades deserve fair and balanced representation

      • December 17, 2015 - Reply

        @blogdiz

        I was being sarcastic in my original remarks ( guess that didnt come across that well), however I agree with your position.

    • December 17, 2015 - Reply

      @Kwazi Style

      No, you hit the nail on the head. Colorism works both ways. Part of Thurgood Marshall’s story was the fact that he was so light skinned…..

      There are many of us who suffer from cognitive dissonance when it comes to race and racial issues.

      It is very sad.

  2. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    I really like Chadwick Boseman. It’s refreshing to see an attractive, classy, well-spoken, talented Black man in Hollywood. And he is rather good-looking. Did I say that already? I hop the movie does well.

  3. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Casting light skinned or biracial black people to play dark(er) skinned black people never seems to be a point of contingency. They do that without a second thought and judge people who take issue with it. So it shouldn’t be a problem here. If they think Chadwick has the acting ability to pull it off there shouldn’t be a problem.

    • December 17, 2015 - Reply

      @Ang

      Well Colorism doesnt affect BM the same way it affects BW., which is why for the most part they ddnt care , let they guys like Chad. Taye, Morris Chestnut, Michael B Jordon etc find that they cant get any work because ALL the roles going to Jesse Williams type then it would be a different story.
      Bottom line the female equivalent of Chad and these guys in terms of skin color, features hair texture is struggling to find work unless she is over 40/50 , plus size maid, prison inmate sassy sidekick etc

      • December 17, 2015 - Reply

        @blogdiz

        I know what you mean. But, colorism affects every black person even if it does affect us in different ways. With men, they typically don’t let dark skin black men play “good” characters. You will likely never see someone like Jessie Williams or Michael Ealy playing a drug dealer, criminal, or just a guy from the hood. Those roles are seen as “dark skinned black men” roles just like the maids are seen as “dark women roles ” by white people. So in that regard I’m surprised a dark skinned man would be cast to play an educated, highly respected black man who actually saves the day. That being said, I definely think they could have found someone else to play Marshall since he is real person rather than a fictional character.

      • December 17, 2015 - Reply

        @blogdiz

        BTW, I was actually talking about the reaction from people in Hollywood not black people. Casting directors don’t have a problem lighting up black people so I find it interesting that they even paused when the issue is making a lift akined person darker. It’s telling of what they really think

  4. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    I just HATE that Hollywood can’t let an up & coming actor (that more so looks like the CHARACTER they are trying to portray) in the movie.
    I get that this is his time w/ playing the Black Panther & all, but let’s be real here.
    Im not gonna dis Zoe for playing Nina Simone and let this one slide by…nope!

  5. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Colorism im the media seems to work in the reverse for black men, as much as I like Chad He does not look like Thurgood. Fair is fair if a biracial/lighskin woman was cast to play Maya Angelou/Nina Simone etc we wouldn’t like it and for the love of God please dont bring up Denzil and Malcolm or Angella and Tina , one those actors were a few shades off but had similar facial structures to the character and two they ARE Denzil and Angella the then ” go to ” actors of that time and beyond/

    No Hollywood we do not all look alike and you make a better effort when portraying your beloved white cons

  6. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Great actor but HORRIBLE choice to play Thurgood! Come on they look nothing alike! I hope that decide to change. Why would he even take the role! That is like me taking a role to play Lena Horne!

  7. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    First, this role is historical. Thurgood Marshall was a leader of the NAACP beore he was a Supreme Court Justice for decades until 1991. Chadwick has the talent to portray Thurgood Marshall without question. I saw the movie 42 and he was amazing as Jackie Robinson. I saw the James Brown movie and the movie didn’t sugarcoat his life. It showed the good things that James Brown has done and the bad things that he has done. The part of the movie where the James Brown character cries about his mother was a very emotional scene. Chadwick doesn’t look like Thurgood Marshall. It is important to promote both accuracy in biopics (and I respect those who have differing points of view on the casting of the late Thurgood Marshall), but this is not equivalent to a white man or another non-black person playing him. So, Chadwick has the strength and the talent to portray Thurgood Marshall, but other actors can play him as well. I wish the best for Chadwick. The story of Thurgood Marshall shows us the necessity to defend the interests of the working class, of our black people, and to advance civil liberties wholeheartedly.

  8. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Jackie Robinson, James Brown, The Black Panther and now Thurgood Marshall. I think Chadwick has a GREAT agent.

  9. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    Bizarre casting choice I like Boseman as an actor but he’s and weird choice to portray Justice Thurgood Marshall.

  10. December 17, 2015 - Reply

    boseman has the drive and the talent to pull this off

  11. December 18, 2015 - Reply

    Shut the front door! Chadwick is a talented actor, and the Marshall needs to be told. But wait, he looks nothing like Marshall… I think a Shemar Moore or Jeffery Wright would be better picks.

    To play a biopic you obviously need to be talented but I like it when the actor also has some similar physical features with the actual person they’re portraying. It makes the story more palatable.

    I liked it Denzel as Malcolm X, Jamie Foxxx as Ray, etc. Even to this day when I watch these two movies I feel like I’m watching the real Malcolm and Ray Charles. It feels more like a documentary than a movie.

    I hope the producer and director reconsider their decision and pick someone else. A mulatto or a really light-skinned African/Black actor.

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