Actor and director Isaiah Washington’s new film “Corsicana” explores the life of a Black law enforcement officer with some very notable stripes.
Washington was recently in Chicago to discuss the film and spoke with WTTW News.
Cinema can provide an opportunity for education. In this case, it’s educating the public on Bass Reeves, who is said to be the first Black deputy U.S. marshal to serve West of the Mississippi River.
“I was intrigued by the process because I didn’t know who Bass Reeves was,” Washington said.
Shot in Corsicana, Texas, during the pandemic, Washington found himself taking on the role of director after most of the production team quit.
“I went in like a giddy little girl or boy, sat for five days doing nothing, then the director quit and producers and actors quit,” he said.
Washington had already spent 27 days on the project and was determined to see it through.
“I walked in and said, ‘I’m directing,’ and the rest was a blur. I took 120 pages and made it down to 30 pages and rewrote everything about Bass Reeves in it,” he said.
For nearly three decades, Reeves is said to have arrested some of the most dangerous fugitives of his time. Washington credits the cast for their role in properly acknowledging Reeves and his story.
“It’s not only important to be in the theater, because I see how this movie changes people’s DNA when they watch it. Bass Reeves doesn’t die in the end, he’s a good guy, a master of firearms, a law man, great at disguises, literate, has a wife, wealthy and he is diverse in how he works with people,” Washington said.
The film is now playing at Cinema Chatham, 210 W. 87th St.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.