Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

SIGHTINGS - The Hughes Brothers


I wonder what they've been doing for the past 8 years, since their last effort, the mediocre
From Hell, was released... their individual IMDB resumes state their involvement in a television series called Touching Evil, in 2004, serving as producer and director respectively. But not much else.

Having already wrapped their arms around one set of pimp chronicles on the east coast, the Hughes Brothers have decided to focus their cameras on yet another group of pimps, for a television series, but this time set in Oakland, California - a move that's apparently causing quite a stir amongst Oakland residents, who fear the potentially harmful effect that the negative images captured for the film will have on their beloved city by the bay.

The conflict with the city aside, as I said in a previous post a few months ago - given that the brothers haven't made a film in 8 years, I would expect that their return to center-stage would be something other than a rehashing/revisiting of themes and ideas they've already explored - and not very well, in my opinion. Come on fellas! Surely, there are fresher, more interesting stories to tell than this.


The Hughes Bros have run into resistance from officials in Oakland, Calif. who are reluctant to grant the filmmakers a permit to shoot their upcoming pimp drama in the city.

Authorities are worried that "Gentleman of Leisure," which follows the life of a legendary Oakland pimp as he tries to leave the game, will depict Oakland in a bad light, reports The San Francisco Chronicle,

The series, written by Evan Reilly, delves into the overall hustlers' subculture by examining the conflict between old-school pimps and the younger guys whose approach incorporates the violence of the drug culture.

The City of Oakland feels the show may take advantage of the negative reputation already associated with the Bay Area and create an environment that will lead to the further exploitation of women.

That image would stand in exact opposition of Mayor Ron Dellums' plan to create a "model city."

The Hughes brothers, however, argue that their aim is to do for Oakland what "The Wire" did for the city of Baltimore by staying as true to reality as possible.

"It's The Wire meets The Sopranos set in Oakland in a crime element never used before," Allen Hughes told Chronicle. "It's not just about pimps and prostitutes, but also about the history of a city that never got its due. Like Detroit or Miami and a lot of other cities, Oakland is steeped in heavy street industry, in rackets. I'm just going to say it, Oakland is a pimpin' town. It's flourished there. And whenever and wherever street life is celebrated, the city gets a shout out."

I'll probably have to pass on this one... however, I can be convinced otherwise. I stayed clear of The Wire upon its initial run 6 or so years ago, for obvious reasons. But, after a friend strongly urged me to shed my prejudices and watch a few episodes, I was hooked! Maybe Gentlemen of Leisure might be The Wire set in Oakland... maybe a question to ask is whether we need another version of The Wire... maybe it'll turn out to be a great show... maybe... maybe not!



  1. Invisible Woman said...

    Being from Oakland, I call bullshit--and I certainly don't want the Hughes' view to be an encompassing look at my hometown. If dude would have said "we are showing one part of Oakland's history, fine, cause it is a SMALL part.

    But to act like our city is filled with pimps, rackets, and underworld grit, grime, and coulture is stereotyped and insulting, to say the least.

  2. Invisible Hand said...

    Every movie/TV show is all about execution. Every one. No matter how stupid it sounds in the logline, there could be something special there (I think of "Groundhogs Day"). The flipside, of course, is that a bunch or really good ideas are destoyed by bad filmmakers/producers as well.

Post a Comment