'Attack the Block' invades the black sci-fi genre
The new sci-fi thriller Attack the Block invades theaters in select cities today.
Written and directed by Joe Cornish, Attack the Block follows a gang of tough inner-city kids who attempt to defend their neighborhood against an invasion of savage creatures, turning a south London apartment complex into an extraterrestrial war zone.
The cast, primarily made up of young black unknown actors, were put through an intense and grueling auditioning process. During a recent interview, the film’s director Joe Cornish revealed that he auditioned numerous kids to portray the tough gang of friends who protect their neighborhood from aliens.
“We saw about 1,500 kids, and we really put them through their paces. We really tested them to make sure they were committed and had support at home and they had the stamina to last the shoot,” he said. “There was a lot of shooting at night, with hard work and stunts, we had to be sure they could stick with it. We found some amazing talent.”
WATCH THE OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR ‘ATTACK THE BLOCK’ HERE
Thus far the film has won numerous awards including the audience award for best narrative feature at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival as well as the midnight feature award at this years South by Southwest Festival in Texas. This April, Attack the Block gained a U.S. distribution deal with Screen Gems. In recent months the films has been screened in numerous locations across the country and has created substantial online buzz.
The Examiner compares Attack the Block to cult classics like Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. In a Wall Street Journal review, the film is described as an adventure that combines Aliens, The Goonies and Boyz n the Hood.
African-American actors are rarely featured in science fiction films. The list of notable black film stars who have found success in the sci-fi genre remains small, including Will Smith with Independence Day and Men in Black, Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix, Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man, Halle Berry in the X-Men films, and Billy Dee Williams in the original Star Wars trilogy. However, it is our neighbors across the pond that are bringing us this summer’s sci-fi film featuring a black ensemble of actors.
“We always dreamed it would go international. After all, it is very inspired by American directors I admire. We always hoped American audiences would respond to it, but it’s very British, a very authored piece, and not designed to be super-commercial. So I’m very excited and happy that audiences have responded so far. Fingers crossed,” said Cornish.
Attack the Block can be seen in select cities today and will have a wide release in August.