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Bayard Rustin biographical film

BayardRustin.jpgI had no idea who Bayard Rustin was until I read the article about the new film being produced on the man, and yet he seems comparable in stature to other great names who fought for equality from the thirties to his death in the eighties, indeed he was the main organiser for the 1963 march on Washington for jobs and freedom, and he counselled Martin Luther King Jr. on non-violent resistance. However his story doesn't star or end there.

So it's good news that this influential man, mainly behind the scenes of the civil rights movement of the time, is going to get his own story told on screen, although there's already been a documentary called Brother Outsider about his life, this film has the potential to reach a much larger audience.

Bayard Rustin had a very active and busy life, fighting for civil rights all his life, organising movements, marches and helping people speak out about civil rights abuses all over the world from America to India.

One of the surprising things about his lengthy involvement in civil rights, which you can read about over on Wikipedia, is that he was also openly gay, something which wasn't as accepted as it is today, and throughout this time it never seems to have been brought to the fore and allowed to destroy his career as it could have been, although an FBI photograph was used out of context to try and insinuate an affair between he and Martin Luther King Jr. to undermine both their credibilities.

At one time he was imprisoned for failing to work with the military, he was a conscientious objector, and he was arrested for lewd conduct pertaining to his open homosexuality. However even in prison he didn't stop campaigning and was protesting about segregated dining facilities where he was held as well as organising a Free India Committee.

Through the seventies and eighties he worked as a monitor of human rights and free elections, as well as giving speeches for gay rights across America. He once wrote about himself:

"The principal factors which influenced my life are 1) nonviolent tactics; 2) constitutional means; 3) democratic procedures; 4) respect for human personality; 5) a belief that all people are one."

The story from Variety tells us that David Permut, Daniel Sladek and Chris Taaffe are producing a film about the man's life, and have just completed a deal with the estate, and Rustin's partner Walter Naegle, and so the film is set to continue.

Speaking about the film, Permut said:

"This is a provocative and challenging piece about a man who was one of the most influential figures in the history of civil rights but not as widely known because of his own personal choices, which he was careful to never let compromise his tireless efforts"

A worthy film indeed, and a role that any actor would be hungry for don't you think? So who would you cast as the man? Is Denzel Washington too obvious a choice?



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