41 – Shaft

This is the quickest turnaround we’ve had for an episode, and I kind of like it.

Last week it was announced that Tim Story, the appropriately-named director behind BarbershopFantastic FourFantastic Four: Rise of the Silver SurferRide Along and many more will be helming a reboot to the king of blaxploitation films: Shaft.

This left me mildly irked.

(direct link)

As I mention in this week’s episode, I’ve been planning to pitch a Shaft sequel (Shaftquel?) for a while, so hearing about this reboot being in development kind of shortened the timeline I had to get it out. We have a kind of unspoken rule not to pitch anything that’s actually happening any time soon.

Anyway, here’s some Shaft facts (Shacts?) for you, old and new:

  • The Shaft reboot is being developed by New Line, based on a script written by Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and The Goldbergs Executive Producer Alex Barnow.
  • Gordon Parks, the director of the original film, came to The UK as part of a press tour for the film. After a screening, a journalist asked him why characters called each other “Mother”. While Parks couldn’t think of an appropriate way to explain it to him, a woman in the audience casually helped out: “You’ve heard of Smucker’s jam, young man, just snip out the first two letters and add an ‘f’ and you’ll get the message.”
  • The term “Blaxploitation” was coined by NAACP Los Angeles Head Junius Griffin in the 70s. The genre had a very mixed reception from it’s Black audiences, with some seeing Black empowerment in the films, while others saw them as a stereotypical look at African American people.
  • The Shaft theme, erm, “Theme From Shaft” won Issac Hayes an Oscar in 1972 for Best Original Song, making him the first Black person to win the award (the first two being Hattie McDaniel for Gone With the Wind and Sidney Poitier for Lilies of the Field).
    • The French Connection was the big winner in that year’s ceremony, winning Best Picture and four other awards – including Best Adapted Screenplay for a script written by Ernest Tidyman, the co-writer of Shaft. Full Circle!
  • David F Walker is an author who has worked on comic book titles such as CyborgPower Man and Iron Fist and several independent titlesHe has also written a few Shaft comics, available on Amazon.

That’s all I’ve got for you this week.

Next week, we’re getting ready for The Lego Batman Movie.