‘The Banker’ Cast and Crew Defend Film Against Allegations of Inaccuracy

‘The Banker’ Cast and Crew Defend Film Against Allegations of Inaccuracy

02 Dec 2019 (PT)
CAST AND CREWTHE BANKER

The Banker” director George Nolfi and the movie’s cast, crew, producers, and writers signed an open letter published Monday defending the film based on the life of African American businessman Bernard Garrett. Distributor Apple delayed its release last month after Garrett’s daughter Cynthia Garrett accused her half brother Bernard Garrett Jr., one of the film’s producers, of sexual abuse and helping craft an inaccurate narrative of their father’s life. The filmmakers in their letter wrote the film was based not on the memories of the Garrett children, but from interviews with Garrett himself, and transcripts, court rulings, and media reports. Via Variety.

In the statement, Nolfi, cast members Anthony Mackie who protrays Garrett, Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, and others, expressed sympathy for Cynthia Garrett in light of allegations that Garrett Jr. sexually abused her as a child, but defended the film and “its positive message of empowerment.”

“Though we have no way of knowing what may have transpired between Mr. Garrett's children in the 1970s, including the allegations of abuse we have recently been made aware of, our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered,” the letter reads.

Apple bought the film earlier this year, positioning it as a crown jewel in its burgeoning Apple TV+ streaming service. The tech giant was already pumping money into an awards campaign for the movie ahead of its planned AFI Fest premiere November 20, which was abruptly cancelled as the allegations surfaced. The company later postponed the planned limited theatrical release.

The film is based on the lives of entrepreneur Garrett and his business partner Joe Morris’ Jackson thwarting of the racial limitations of the 1950s. The pair recruit working-class white man Matt Steiner Hoult to pose as the head of their business empire while the two moguls act as a janitor and chauffeur. After making it big in California real estate, the men secretly purchase two banks in Texas in an aim to provide loans to the black community there. But with success comes the unforeseen risk of exposure and the threat of losing everything.

Niceole R. Levy, one of the screenwriters, at the IndieWire 'Consider This' FYC Brunch earlier in November discussed some of the research she and her colleagues conducted for the movie, which involved transcripts from hearings after the men’s scheme was discovered.

“I did went out and dug up a whole bunch of research for us to read through,” she said. “The tone of the Congressional transcript from the hearings is very much ‘How dare you, how dare you think you can get away with this.’ I think it was very much, ‘We don’t want anyone else to think they can do this. We don’t want anyone else to get ideas about going out and buying these banks and thinking they’re going to determine what happens with our money.'”

Here’s the full text of the letter:

We set out to tell a story we were very passionate about, recounting the remarkable lives of Bernard Garrett Sr and Joe Morris, and their ground-breaking achievements combating racial inequality in the 1950s and 60s. Though we have no way of knowing what may have transpired between Mr. Garrett's children in the 1970s, including the allegations of abuse we have recently been made aware of, our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered. The film itself is not based on the recollections of any of Bernard Garrett Sr's children, but rather, on recorded interviews with Bernard Garrett Sr himself, conducted in 1995, supported by congressional transcripts, court rulings, and other media articles from the era. We stand by the film, and its positive message of empowerment.

Signed by: George Nolfi — Director, Producer, Writer Anthony Mackie — Actor, Producer Samuel L. Jackson — Actor, Executive Producer Nicholas Hoult — Actor Nia Long — Actor Scott Daniel Johnson — Actor Jessie T. Usher — Actor Colm Meaney — Actor Paul Ben-Victor — Actor James DuMont — Actor GregAlan Williams — Actor Bill Kelly — Actor Michael Harney — Actor David Maldonado — Actor Gralen Bryant Banks — Actor Rhoda Griffis — Actor Joel Viertel — Producer, Editor Brad Feinstein — Producer David Lewis Smith — Producer, Writer Will Greenfield — Executive Producer, Unit Production Manager Carlo Hart — Co-Producer Stan Younger — Writer Niceole Levy — Writer Brad Caleb Kane — Writer Charlotte Bruus Christensen — Director of Photography John Collins — Production Designer Aieisha Li — Costume Designer H. Scott Salinas — Composer Kim Coleman — Casting Director Tonya Cryer — Hair Department Head LaToya Henderson — Make-Up Department Head Stephen Moore — 1st Assistant Director Andi Crumbley — Art Director Lynne Mitchell — Set Decorator Mike Scherschel — Prop Master Kayla Gueho — Location Manager David Martin — Key Assistant Location Manager Harrison Huffman — Production Supervisor Huxley Rodriguez — Production Coordinator Serena Simpson — Sound Mixer Chris Birdsong — Key Grip Jon Lewis — Gaffer Karlyn Exantus — Script Supervisor Meagan Lewis — Local Casting Director Atlanta Mary Jasionowski — Production Accountant Chuck Jean — Post-Production Supervisor Gordon Williams — Music Supervisor Michael Hatzer — Supervising Digital Colorist David Christopher Smith — Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer Marti Humphrey — Supervising Sound Editor, Re-Recording Mixer Christian Wood — Visual Effects Supervisor Chris LeDoux — Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Cindy Rago — Visual Effects Producer

Source: Indiewire

CAST AND CREWTHE BANKER
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‘The Banker’ Cast and Crew Defend Film Against Allegations of Inaccuracy
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