March 10, 2010
I don't know which was the bigger surprise on last night's "Lost": finding out who Ben is talking to on his doorstep, or seeing the "Directed by Mario Van Peebles" credit that flashed up on the screen at the same time (full episode here).
The last I'd heard of Mario, he was directing and starring in a homage to his father Melvin's seminal 1971 blaxploitation movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, called, naturally Baadasssss! It was, and I mean this with all sincerity, badass.
Since then, he's directed a few episodes of "Law & Order" and now has a small role on "Damages". I don't think he's really made a movie since Baadasssss! (that's 5 s's) in 2003, but he has somehow gotten to direct three feature-length movies that are in production right now, including:
- a movie about spiritual redemption with Michael Clarke Duncan and the always skeezy Tom Skerritt called Black, White and Blues,
- an insane-looking Russian produced movie about secret missions in Iraq with Bill Pullman and a guy from Twilight called Kerosene Cowboys,
- and one about a young football player called Things Fall Apart, written by and starring 50 Cent, though seemingly not related to the Roots album, the novel by Chinua Achebe, or the poem by Yeats.
Plus a BET documentary about black male role models called "Bring Your A Game" with Spike Lee and Ice Cube. And an episode of "Lost".
Mario Van Peebles, I don't know how you do it. Either he's got the world's best agent, he works really cheap, or the entertainment industry thinks back on New Jack City with overpowering fondness.
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