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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Forest Whitaker on the Weinsteins dumping his movie: 'It's a travesty'

February 25, 2010 |  3:59 pm

Lil' Wayne may be the hottest rapper in the business and Forest Whitaker may be an Oscar-winner for "The Last King of Scotland," but that didn't stop the not-so-deep pocketed Weinstein Co. from dumping the duo's film, "Hurricane Season," which showed up earlier this month in the direct-to-video bins.

You'd think with all the money the Weinsteins are spending on full-page ads trying to win an Oscar for Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" that they'd have a little extra dough stashed away to actually promote a new film, especially one that recounts the inspirational story of a New Orleans high school basketball coach whose team of cast-off kids wins the state championship.

Hurricane-season-movie-poster5-643x902 You can't say the film, directed by "Fantastic Four" filmmaker Tim Story, doesn't have enough star power. In addition to Whitaker, who plays the coach, the picture features Wayne, Isaiah Washington, Taraji P. Henson, Bow Wow and Michael Gaston. The Weinsteins have been claiming that the film didn't test well, but that hasn't soothed Whitaker's hurt feelings. In fact, he's royally peeved that the Weinsteins promised him a theatrical release and then -- prepare to be shocked -- went back on their word.

According to this post from the Playlist, Whitaker, who's now at work on a biopic about Louis Armstrong, minced few words. "I think that was a travesty," he said of the video dump. "... It's not just about me, the fact that they didn't do what they said they were going to do is amazing to me. I think that is the modus operandi. But a lot of people are telling me they saw the video on DVD and really responded to it and don't understand why it wasn't released and I say, 'You'll have to talk to the Weinsteins [about that], I can't help you.' "

This is hardly the only Weinstein project that, thanks to the company's financial woes, has ended up going straight to  video. But it's a movie that deserved better, especially from Harvey Weinstein, who used to be the guy filmmakers went to with their passion projects, not the guy who was strapped so thin that he couldn't deliver the goods.

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