Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Director Jordan Peele attends the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
If you’re like Spike Lee and felt underwhelmed by “Green Book” or angered over its best picture win Sunday night, fret not. Another story inspired by a travel guide for Jim Crow-era black road trippers is on the way to the screen.
“Lovecraft Country” is a horror drama that follows Atticus Black, his uncle George and Letitia Dandrige as they travel across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of Black’s father. On their trek, the three must overcome racist terrors, but also terrifying monsters ripped straight from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft’s prose.
“Green Book,” which took home the top prize at the Academy Awards, has been shrouded in controversy since it hit theaters in November.
“I thought I was court side at the Garden and the ref made a bad call,” Lee said during a post-Oscar chat with reporters about the film winning best picture.
“Green Book’s” detractors say the movie pushes a “white savior” narrative. This is the notion that people of color can only succeed if a white person blazes the trail for them.
“Green Book” tells the story of a working-class Italian-American bouncer, Tony Vallelonga, who is employed as the driver of an African-American classical pianist, Don Shirley, on a tour of venues in the South during the 1960s. Throughout their journey Vallelonga overcomes his prejudice and even teaches Shirley a thing or two about black culture when he introduces the classical musician to music by Aretha Franklin and Little Richard, seemingly for the first time. There’s also a scene where Vallelonga convinces Shirley to try fried chicken.
The film’s critics ripped these plot details as indulging in racial cliches. The movie’s three writers, who won Oscars of their own Sunday night, are white.
Critics were quick to point out when the film was released that it was “a movie about racism, made by white people for white people,” as Jenni Miller wrote in a review for NBC News.
Which isn’t to say that white filmmakers shouldn’t make films about race, but that more due diligence should be placed on getting it right.
“Green Book” was also tarnished by controversies involving the movie’s creators.
In January, co-writer and producer Nick Vallelonga apologized for a 2015 tweet in which he said Muslims were cheering in Jersey City when the Twin Towers were destroyed by terrorists on 9/11. Mahershala Ali, who won best supporting actor for his portrayal of Don Shirley in “Green Book,” is black and Muslim.
Director Peter Farrelly, likewise, made a public apology following accusations of sexual misconduct, and lead actor Viggo Mortensen apologized after using the N-word during a post-screening discussion in November.
“Lovecraft Country,” on the other hand, is being brought to the screen by two black creators, Peele and Misha Green (“Underground”). The source novel for “Lovecraft Country” utilizes the green book in a more prominent manner than the film “Green Book,” in which it is only leafed through on several occasions, with a small bit of exposition being given for what it is.
“Lovecraft Country” will not be a straight historical drama, as it will have elements of science fiction and horror weaved into its narrative.
Although there is no official release date for the show, “Lovecraft Country” is expected to premiere this year — as HBO seeks new ways to draw subscribers with blockbuster series “Game of Thrones” coming to an end this spring.
— Disclosure: “Green Book” was distributed by NBC Universal, the parent company of CNBC.