DEFENDING HOLLYWOOD: Antoine Fuqua
AMERICAN DIRECTOR Antoine Fuqua says he doesn’t believe Hollywood is racist.
The popular filmmaker, famed for the 2001 hit film Training Day starring Denzel Washington, feels that while there are race-related issues in the American film industry, it isn’t fair to label the entire business as racist.
“I wouldn’t use the term racist, as much as I would say the playing field is not even in Hollywood,” Fuqua told The Voice. “But ultimately, you have to put in the work.
“It’s very easy to cry racism when you’re not qualified to do the work or your work isn’t transcending to where you want it to be. Hollywood is a business and you have to look at it that way.”
He adds: “I do see other things – like people who don’t understand or are ignorant to our culture. But I wouldn’t call them racist. If anything, it’s our job to expand their minds to our experience.”
The 47-year-old, whose new action thriller Olympus Has Fallen is released in the UK this week, believes that the lack of black-interest stories coming from Hollywood is partly due to a lack of black executives in the business.
“There are no African-Americans that run major studios and most of the executives at the top level are not African-American. So when the people in those jobs are developing stories, nine times out of 10, their stories won’t be about African-Americans – they’ll be about people who look like themselves.
“To say that those people are racist is not necessarily the case.”
Fuqua also insists that most of the people who have helped him in his film career have not been black.
“99.9 per cent of the people that have given me my opportunities in this business were not African-American,” he says. “Denzel [Washington] gave me a great opportunity when we did Training Day together, and I also became friends with Mr Sidney Poitier, who has given me great counsel and advice.
“But in terms of people in the studio system, most of the people who have given me my jobs were not African American. So I can’t sit back and say Hollywood is racist.”
Read the full exclusive interview with Antoine Fuqua in The Voice this Thursday (April 11)