Thinking about Taraji P. Henson's much-anticipated Sony/Screen Gems action-drama "Proud Mary," in which she plays an assassin named Mary who wants out of the game (an early teaser for the movie was unveiled at the Cinemacon event just last month, and it impressed those who were in attendance.), with your assistance, I thought I'd come up with a list of previous assassin movies starring black actors.
Needless to say, pickings are slim with this specific criteria, which speaks to the already-addressed overall lack of variety in the kinds of roles and projects that black actors are considered for (especially within the Hollywood studio system).
But here's what I could come up with:
"Ghost Dog" (1999)
1 - Forest Whitaker in Jim Jarmusch's "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai." Whitaker plays a hitman in the employ of the Mafia, who follows the ancient code of the samurai. The film is an homage to Jean-Pierre Melville's 1967 film "Le Samouraï."
2 - Zoe Saldana in the Luc Besson-produced "Colombiana." Zoe as Cataleya, who seeks revenge after witnessing the murder of her parents as a child, becoming a hitwoman in the process.
"The Limits of Control" (2009)
3 - Another Jarmusch film - "The Limits of Control" starring Isaach De Bankolé as a lone wolf assassin, carrying out a job in Spain.
4 - Another Forest Whitaker film - "Diary of a Hitman," which sees Whitaker star as an assassin named Dekker, on his last job to kill the wife of his client, but he starts to reconsider.
5 - "The Manchurian Candidate" remake - Denzel Washington stars as Bennett Marco, a war veteran brainwashed into assassinating the newly-elected president. Jeffrey Wright makes a brief but powerful cameo.
6 - "Shadowboxer" - Lee Daniels' bizarre, but oddly captivating genre mashup, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren as stepmother and son, who also happen to be lovers, as well as contract killers.
That's all I've got folks! Whitaker and Jarmusch dominate! Who'da thunk it?
What did I miss? Feel free to add to the above list which I'm sure many will appreciate - films to add to this weekend's to-watch list - assuming you haven't already seen all the titles mentioned (or that will be mentioned by others).
Iranian-Swedish film director, screenwriter, and cinematographer Babak Najafi has been tapped to direct "Proud Mary." He is most known for directing "London Has Fallen," the 2016 sequel to Antoine Fuqua's "Olympus Has Fallen."
Joining Henson in front of the camera in "Proud Mary" are Billy Brown, Margaret Avery, Danny Glover, as well as newcomer Jahi Di’Allo Winston ("The New Edition Story") to the "Proud Mary" cast. No word on what characters each of them have signed up to play either.
Scripted by John Stewart Newman and Christian Swegal, production is slated to begin this month in Boston, with Paul Schiff and Tai Duncan producing.
I read lots of enthusiastic reactions to the teaser that was screened at CinemaCom late last month; "harcore action"; "sleek and stylish"; our friends at SlashFilm described it as "a female John Wick-style action film"; there were more reactions, but you get the picture. So we're most definitely curious to see this, especially considering that it's a genre of film that we rarely see black actors star in; it's even more of an anomaly for black actresses.
Let's hope that Sony releases the Cinemacon teaser online soon. Surprisingly, it hasn't been leaked yet.
Screen Gems has slotted "Proud Mary" for a January 26, 2018 theatrical opening.
So, in consideration of "Proud Mary," let's come up with a list of all the assassin/hit-man/hit-woman movies we can think of starring black actors/actresses. I've kicked it off with the above 6 titles; any others?