- Nia Long talked to Insider about how “Fatal Affair” became a Black-led thriller once Netflix bought it.
- Long, who is also a producer on the movie, said she was disappointed the movie only had “maybe three people” who were Black.
- A Black screenwriter was also only hired because Long was cast.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
On the surface, the Netflix movie “Fatal Affair” looks like a fun 90-minute thriller with two 1990s heartthrobs, Nia Long and Omar Epps, as the leads.
But it turns out the making of the movie is yet another example of systemic racism in Hollywood, according to Long.
The actress, who is also a producer on the movie, told Insider that the movie was originally written for a white cast and was changed to a Black-led movie once Netflix bought it. And once Long was attached to star, a Black screenwriter, Rasheeda Garner, was hired to revamp the script.
“Rasheeda and I have since become friends and I think she’s a wonderful writer,” Long told Insider. “The flipside of that is I hope and pray that she gets the opportunity to be in the forefront and not brought on because the lead of the film is Black. She should be able to write and tell stories as an African-American woman in this industry.”
“I understand and respect our director, who is a white man,” Long continued, referring to “Fatal Affair” director Peter Sullivan. “He wanted to be respectful of my voice and I appreciate that. And that’s why he hired Rasheeda. So although it gave her an opportunity, I want more. I want more for her, I want more for myself, I want more for Black female writers and directors in this business to not be used to fix something but to be used to tell our stories in a really authentic way.”
Long also pointed out that the movie’s crew also wasn’t very diverse.
“In all honesty, I was disappointed that there were maybe three people on the crew that were Black, but that really is the production company’s responsibility, not the network,” Long said. “By the time I arrived, they were a happy family that had done several films together. My next production will be different.”
While Long says she doesn’t think anyone on the team had bad intentions, the lack of diversity behind the scenes is a systemic issue that continues to plague the entertainment industry.
“This isn’t about ‘Fatal Affair,’ this is about a system,” she said. “This is a systemic issue in Hollywood that has yet to be addressed in a fair way.”
While she’s planning to produce more projects going forward and pledges to make necessary changes, Long said she can’t be the only one doing the work.
“I can’t be the only girl holding the torch,” Long said. “I’ve burned my fingers a lot standing up for what I believe in. Being outspoken. I will be the first person to say I want everyone to have a good time, this isn’t me being self-serving, this is about how can we all push forward and be better?”