Entertainment

There Is Going To Be A Remake Of Disney’s ‘Hercules’ And It Is Going To Have An All Black Cast

There’s a new live-action stage version of Disney’s 1997 animated film “Hercules” at the Public Theater in New York City — and Hercules is Black as hell

In 1997, San Francisco Gate’s Peter Sack described the film as, “The great old Greek is turned into a ’90s-style athlete who gets endorsements, sandals named after him and a chance to stand tall among nymphs and muses.”

Sound familiar to you? Lest we not forget this was the same era that Michael Jordan did Space Jam and Shaquille O’Neal did Kazaam. The original animated film took inspiration from major athletes of the time and thus, it inevitably heavily references Black and hood ’90s culture. If you watch it now the sneakers, the gospel music, the humor, it probably seems so obvious. 

One might wonder with all these references to the Black popular culture of the ’90s, why didn’t the creators just make Hercules Black? Well, they finally have.

The story of Hercules.  

While most of us were forced to read and re-read Hercules in secondary school, not everyone may know the story. Hercules is the son of the king and queen of the gods, Zeus and Hera. When a prophecy foretells that he will eventually defeat the god of the underworld, Hades, Hercules is kidnapped as an infant. Unable to kill him, Hades is able to take his immortality away but not his strength. The baby Hercules is raised by a mortal couple. At 18 he figures out his real origins and is determined to become a hero so that he can return to Mount Olympus with the gods.

Meet your new Hercules.

Hercules at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, through The Public Theater’s Public Works Program is based on the 1997 animated film, and has kept Alan Menken’s musical score. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he also created the music for Disney’s Aladdin. Jelani Alladin stars as the demi-god Hercules. Krysta Rodriguez plays his love interest Megara.

The difference between the stage musical and the film is that Disney has finally chosen to embrace their story’s Blackness. Rather than simply coding their narrative as one with allusions to Black culture, they’ve put that Blackness at the forefront and center. That’s what we call growth! Everybody loves Black culture, it’s time we start loving the people who make it. 

Danielle C. Belton of The Root describes the original as having flirted with African-American culture, while this new version embraces a multicultural cast. 

“While the film Hercules only flirted with African-American music and culture—the muses who were the “Greek chorus” throughout the film were patterned after classic, Motown-style Black ‘50s girl groups,” she writes. “This version of ancient Greece and the Greco-Roman gods features quite a few Black, Asian and Latinx people, including Jelani Alladin as the titular teenaged Hercules, and, of course—all five of the doo-wopping muses are…sistas with voices.”

How Hercules gave nods to Black culture. 

Hercules is something of a hood icon. It was the first time many kids probably saw Black women portrayed as the muses and Greek chorus. This gaggle of doo-wopping muses sang the funky, soulful Hercules theme. There were also pivotal aspects of hood culture, some of it is even social commentary. Hercules’s character is parallel to the superstar basketball players of the ’90s, their rabid fans, and endorsement deals. The creators, Ron Clements and John Musker, even referred to Hercules as the Michael Jordan of his time. 

In the movie, we see a young Hercules’ as he rises to fame for being a demi-God with some serious strength. When the hero-worship begins, he snags a sweet endorsement deal — but these aren’t Nike Jordans — they’re fresh to death Hercules sandals called Air-Hercs. When the villain Hades sees that one of his minions is rocking the Hercules sandals his response is simple and iconic: what are those?The phrase has now become a popular meme on Black Twitter going so far as being referenced in the “Black Panther” movieThe hero even has his own version of a Gatorade sponsorship, the drink is called “Herculade.”

A Latinx Megara embraces feminism.

Unlike other Disney women of the era, Megara was never waiting to be saved. She was sarcastic, witty, and pretty unimpressed with Hercules’ attempts to holler at her. Krysa Rodriguez’ Megara puts feminism at the forefront — again we see subtle codes made explicit. 

“In a new song, a pants-clad Meg imagines a world without men, envisioning it as a utopia where she could do as she pleases. A dopey, lovestruck Hercules, seeking to demonstrate his feminist credentials, replies clumsily, ‘My mom’s a woman,’” writes Adrienne Westenfeld for Esquire.

Diversity is always an improvement. We live in a multicultural world, there is never anything wrong with reflecting that in the stories we tell. After all, it’s the stories we tell that teach us who we are and who we will become. For Hercules that is learning the truth about his traumatic past to create a better future — for America, well, it’s no different.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Entertainment

A ‘Father Of The Bride’ Sequel Is Officially Coming— And It’s Going To Be Super Cuban-American!

Break out the tres leches! It’s gonna be a wedding of “epic proportions!” Cuban-style!

That’s right, the beloved 1991 film Father of the Bride is getting a remake. This time, the film will star 64-year-old actor Andy Garcia, the patriarch of a Cuban American family, struggling to see his daughter walk down the aisle.

Garcia will star in and executive produce the upcoming Warner Bros. remake of Father of the Bride, a story that will follow a Cuban American family.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Brad Pitt‘s production company, Plan B will produce the remake with Gaz Alazraki, director of Club de Cuervos, set to helm.

“I’m very excited to join The Father of the Bride, a beloved film that has brought so much joy to so many over the years and to represent my Cuban culture and heritage in this story,” Garcia explained in a statement published by THR. “I commend Warner Brothers for their foresight and celebrate this opportunity they have created.” 

Garcia’s remake is the latest in the franchise, which first came out in 1950 and starred actor Spencer Tracey and Elizabeth Taylor.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The first film inspired a sequel, also starring Tracey and Taylor, called Father’s Little Dividend. The film was remade forty-years later with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in the 1991 version. Garcia’s upcoming take will focus on a similar storyline. According to THR, “the latest remake will center on the father of a soon-to-be bride coming to terms with daughters’ nuptials. But the latest take will be told through the relationships in a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.”

The 1991 cast of the film reunited in September for a Netflix special. 

father of the bride
BUENA VISTA PICTURES

The feature filmed memorable moments from the Nancy Meyers film and its 1995 sequel Father of the Bride II and showed “the Banks family’s” home in 2020. The reunion was produced to honor the World Central Kitchen amid the pandemic.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Mexican Filmmaker’s Six-Pack Inspired The Oscar Statue

Entertainment

This Mexican Filmmaker’s Six-Pack Inspired The Oscar Statue

That’s right, Oscar’s real name is actually Emilio.

When it comes to the Academy Awards, there’s nothing more iconic than the actual Oscar award. That’s right, it’s not Björk’s swan dress or Jennifer Lopez’s beloved pink gown, when people think of the Oscar Awards it’s always the rip-chested statue with broad shoulders and muscled legs. The art deco god that everyone in entertainment dreams of one-day holding: the Oscar award.

But, as familiar as he may be, it turns out we don’t know Oscar very well.

Emilio Fernandez, born in Coahuila, Mexico, became the face of the Academy Awards thanks to a close friend.

Fernandez grew up during the Mexican Revolution and according to PRI, later left high school to become an officer for the Huertista rebels. In 1925, he was captured and sentenced to 20 years in prison but managed to escape his sentence and fled to Los Angeles.

Soon enough he began working as an extra in Hollywood and picked up the nickname “El Indio” when he met Dolores Del Rio, the silent film actress and wife of MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons. the nickname was terrible but Del Rio and Fernandez became friends and when her husband was given an opportunity to design the award statuette fate happened.

Del Rio suggested Fernandez as a model for the statue and her husband agreed.

Fernandez’s life became much greater than a statue though, he became one of the biggest stars of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema. He worked in numerous film productions in Mexico and in Hollywood starring in the 1944 film María Candelaria, the 1947 film Río Escondido and Vìctimas del Pecado made in 1951.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com