Director Antoine Fuqua is Clearing Paths for Black Filmmakers
With several big projects announced to be in production or premiering in collaboration with the likes of superstars Jake Gyllenhaal and Denzel Washington, director Antoine Fuqua is one of the most prominent and busiest black film and TV directors in Hollywood.
Fuqua believes there is a secret to breaking the color barrier in his field, and it is evident in his latest projects, which are international in profile.
Fuqua will produce “The Man Who Made It Snow,” which was announced as a limited TV series on Epix that may involve Jake Gyllenhaal, who starred in Fuqua’s 2015 film Southpaw. Fuqua might direct the first and last episode as well.
Premiering earlier this summer was The Equalizer 2, a film starring Denzel Washington and directed by Fuqua.
Fuqua is also on board to direct The Street, from a screenplay by Goodfellas scribe Nicholas Pileggi, for Tooley Entertainment, eOne and Pressman Films.
At the Locarno Festival‘s StepIn think tank discussions on Thursday, Fuqua addressed a question about the traditional Hollywood lore positing that black stars don’t sell in international markets.
The director countered and said he at least thinks that there is more audience potential for Washington outside the U.S.
“I think Denzel is international. He’s a movie star. I don’t see any reason he should be based in only one place. It’s like James Bond. Those films move all around, it’s fantastic,” he said in Locarno.
“Denzel is a guy that can translate anywhere. It would be fun to see him in a different environment, overseas in a European setting and speaking other languages. I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t happen. I would be more [than] interested,” he argued.
But such reasoning is part of a larger Fuqua interest: the empowerment of black America. He is also currently concluding a four-part series for HBO on Mohammed Ali.
Fuque believes it helps that his films, which are beginning to near around about $200 million in worldwide grosses, can help the black creative community.
“My feeling with color is you can only win with success,” he said. “So if people look upon my color, and in Hollywood they look at my color and they look at the numbers, then maybe the guy behind me can do the same thing as long as the numbers make sense.”
“That’s the only way I think you can get past the color barrier is success,” he added. “You have to be successful.”
Indeed, The Equalizer 2 premiered at No. 1 at the box office this summer, outperforming expectations and fellow rookie Mama Mia! Here We Go Again by $1.06 million. The Equalizer 2 punched $36.0 million over its opening July 20-22 weekend and was already tracking at $71.1 million after two weeks.