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With the success of MOONLIGHT, GET OUT and many more, just why exactly are black leads in films and script in right now?

We’ve been noticing a trend recently among the leads and protagonists for films – more and more successful flicks have leading black characters. It seems like maybe the current state of the States is why these films are growing so well.

As well as Oscar winner MOONLIGHT, this year has seen the likes of GET OUT, which became the highest-grossing debut film of all time. Directed by Jordan Peele, and starring Daniel Kaluuya. A black director and black lead – this film shows the appetite for movies that tackle the issues of black identity in America in new and distinctive ways.

Halle Berry and Sam Jackson have both been driving forces this summer, but they’re already well-established black actors. The big one, for me, is Idris Elba in THE DARK TOWER. Originally in Stephen King’s books, Elba’s character, the Gunslinger, was white. Now people may complain about this being PC, but this shows the pull and power of black actors such as Elba that a studio is willing to alter a character’s race to positively benefit the film.

The new black led superhero film, BLACK PANTHER, is also coming soon and this represents how strong commercially black actors and black led scripts and films are becoming. Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, and Denzel Washington have all been big names for years now. You can even go back to the 70s when Pam Grier was a mainstay in Blaxploitation cinema – this was hugely popular back in the day. But now more than ever, black actors are headlining huge Hollywood films.

Read more on black actors heating up the Summer scene here:

Based on the quality of the scripts and their commercial potential, our last two Grand Prize winners have coincidentally been black-led scripts – but then, maybe the extra edge of having a black lead helped dynamize these scripts in our eyes. For example, let’s look at our Spring 2017 and Winter 2016 Contest Grand Prize winners, RINGMASTER by Tory Williams and BLACKOUT.COM by Ruben Bush III.

Here’s their loglines…

RINGMASTER: “An African-American student enters an underground MMA tournament to pay his way through college.”

BLACKOUT.COM: “Two young African-American men find a unique and dangerous way to handle white supremacists and help their community.”

We believe these are particularly prescient scripts and concepts. And as our Elite Script Mentors Bobby Lee Darby and Nathan Brookes say “scripts with black leads are big right now”. Considering the current social, cultural, and political climate, we’d like to think that with the right script development support paying off, these scripts are right on the money.

If you have a black protagonist in your script – now is the time to get it out there – and with just over a week to go in our Summer Contest you can trust that we’d give it the attention it deserves.


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