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DiCaprio *Replaced* De Niro For Scorsese; What Young Black Actor Might *Replace* Denzel For Spike Lee?

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 12, 2013 12:19 PM
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spike and denzel

"Leo DiCaprio has taken my place as his (Martin Scorsese's) go-to guy." Robert De Niro

A survey on a slow news day... 

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro were a frequent director/actor tag-team, collaborating on several films early in their careers, making a grand total of eight films together since 1973's Mean Streets. The last time they worked together was on 1995's Casino, which seems like ages ago now - almost 20 years!

I suddenly feel old.

Both men got older together, and given how less in demand actors, in general, become as they age (in an industry that caters heavily to a youthful audience), eventually Scorsese would find a new, younger leading man in Leonardo DiCaprio, who essentially picked up where De Niro left off, continuing the director/actor relationship, with their first collaboration together, 2002's Gangs of New York.

Since then, the Scorsese/DiCaprio combo has produced 4 films, with 1 on the way (The Wolf Of Wall Street), to make it 5.

I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that Spike Lee is one of the most celebrated black directors working within the Hollywood studio system today (and maybe even of all time), if not THE most celebrated, with a number of films that have become classics, to his name, not-so-unlike Scorsese. And also like Scorsese, Spike frequently collaborated with one actor (also of his generation) in particular, throughout his career - that actor being Denzel Washington.

The Spike/Denzel team has produced 4 films together (there might soon be fifth, with a sequel to Inside Man rumored). 

So here's my question for you guys (although I'm sure you've figured it out): Just as DiCaprio effectively "replaced" De Niro as Scorsese's younger leading man of choice, what young black actor of DiCaprio's generation, would you like to see "replace" Denzel Washington as Spike Lee's leading man of choice, if/whenever that happens? 

Hypothetically speaking, of course! It's all in good fun, so just play along.

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  • NO BRAINER | June 13, 2013 9:09 AMReply

    I wouldn't say DiCaprio REPLACED DeNiro. He simple succeeded him for roles requiring younger actors. That's all.

  • Nehemiah P. | June 13, 2013 2:00 AMReply

    I'd like to see Spike Lee work with Derek Luke more. I agree with some of the other readers, I don't want to see the "replacement" Denzel Washington, I want to see Denzel Washington.

    I think working with Derek Luke would be interesting. In my opinion he can play a range of different characters. It'd be entertaining to see what he and Spike Lee could do together.

  • wordblaze | June 12, 2013 10:16 PMReply

    Did anyone see John Boyega in 'My Murder'. Kid blew me away. I had only seen him in Attack The Block as 'Moses' of which he played exceptionally cool. But when i saw the BBC original film I thought, 'this a phenomenal young actor'. We all soon know his name and work.

  • Daryl | June 12, 2013 5:11 PMReply

    I would say John Boyega, Nate Parker, Bokeem Woodbine, Chad Coleman,Mos Def, Michael B Jordan. Spike could do great work with these guys.

    This is a different generation of actos, the talent pool has skrinked, not because you don't have any actors, you got more actors now than ever, but the difference is you don't have a lot of actors doing it for the craft and love so you are left with a lot of so so actors that never took the craft serious to develope as good actors, they are just doing this for their lust for fame aand money. So it's going to be hard to find actors that are going to be on the level of the past greats who loved the craft.

  • NO BRAINER | June 13, 2013 9:12 AM

    I'm mad at the group. It includes Mos Def, which is most definitely NOT.

  • Dankwa Brooks | June 12, 2013 6:06 PM

    @DARYL "I would say John Boyega, Nate Parker, Bokeem Woodbine, Chad Coleman,Mos Def, Michael B Jordan." I ain't mad @ that group either.

  • Johnny Vengeance | June 12, 2013 4:52 PMReply

    Chiwetel Ejiofor. He's already worked with Spike, and he's amazing.

  • Donella | June 12, 2013 8:18 PM

    I forgot Chiwetel! Never a bad performance and he's been a reliable supporting actor for Denzel.

  • Donella | June 12, 2013 3:40 PMReply

    Denzel is one of a kind. But Nate Parker, John Boyega, or Chadwick Boseman come close.

  • Rocket | June 12, 2013 4:45 PM

    They are good. But they don't "come close" to Mr. Washington.

  • T | June 12, 2013 3:12 PMReply

    What about Michael B Jordan?

  • R. Elliott | June 12, 2013 2:08 PMReply

    It seemed like Spike had found a new muse in Anthony Mackie, for a couple of movies at least.

  • D.C. Kirkwood | June 12, 2013 1:11 PMReply

    There are no young actors today that can replace Denzel nor should they try. They just need train to be the best actors they can be. Denzel came out during a different time and generation. The social climate was different. Now actors are competing against animations, half humans, like were wolves, and othe fantasy films. They just need to work and have a diverse resume that includes broadway, voice over, directing producing the whole nine. I think Denzel, Wesley, and Don Cheadle have a masculinity about them that gives them and extra edge to go along with their talent. Now these young actors have talent like Nate Parker and Anthony Mackie but in my opinion they just dont have the presence like the men who came before them.JMO

  • FactChecker | June 12, 2013 4:55 PM

    I agree with Kirkwood, that it shouldn't be about "replacing," but rather about the strength of the talent and what he brings to the role. And because Denzel is a good 10-15 years younger than DiNero, he's still got a lot of vigor and star power, as both white and black audiences, as well as people of all ages, still flock to see him in movies. ...

    And Cheadle, continues to be great too. One black actor, in particular, who springs to mind, for me is Daniel Sunjata. He's so underrated and under the radar when it comes to so-called "black projects." But Sunjata WORKS. And has created a lot of interesting characters, in interesting projects over the years. He's a leading man who doesn't garner leading man roles -- which confounds me.

    Additionally, I think Leo is sooooo overrated, but that's a different conversation.

  • Troy | June 12, 2013 3:19 PM

    I didn't think Denzel was masculine until Ricochet. Don Cheadle is the same size as Lorenz Tate and his only masculine role was in the last few years. Wesley is a black belt who only makes B movies now. Nate Parker went to Penn State on a wrestling scholarship. I know these young 32-33 year old whipper snappers don't make you moist.

  • Dankwa Brooks | June 12, 2013 1:08 PMReply

    I think Spike Lee is just ITCHING to work with John Boyega ("Moses" in 'Attack the Block') again.

    For the record, they shot a HBO pilot together 'Da Brick' that wasn't picked up by the network. I think Spike is waiting for the right project. We all know he's not against working with actors he likes. He worked with many repeatedly. Not just Denzel.

  • Troy | June 12, 2013 3:12 PM

    Spike and Denzel aren't as old as Martin and Robert so the corresponding replacement doesn't have to be in the same age range as Leo.

  • Dankwa Brooks | June 12, 2013 1:29 PM

    @NADIA I wouldn't be mad at Nate Parker at all. I don't think I've seen him give a bad performance. Was sad to hear he dropped out of 'OldBoy' because of scheduling conflicts.

  • Nadia | June 12, 2013 1:20 PM

    I was thinking the exact same thing. John Boyega all the way, although he's kinda young. If we're looking at someone in DiCaprio's age range, then Nate Parker is probably it.

  • Youbadassmutha | June 12, 2013 1:02 PMReply

    Why? Spike Lee is done as a mainstream director. All he does is run his mouth these days! Now he's remaking a classic thriller with Oldboy. Methinks it'll never stand up to the original!

  • Youbadassmutha | June 13, 2013 1:59 AM

    And the name calling continues! *sigh* I really hope all you Spike Lee lovers step out to make his films a success seeing as his last two major releases were critical and financial bombs! Oh well, guess you can't please everybody.

  • Tonton Michel | June 12, 2013 8:53 PM

    Your entitled to your opinion just like everyone is entitled to think your full of shit. Just differing opinions.

  • Youbadassmutha | June 12, 2013 3:28 PM

    Wow, Carl/Nadia, I guess a guy just can't have an opinion these days huh?

  • Carl | June 12, 2013 1:45 PM

    How is he done as a mainstream director when he is directing "Oldboy" you stupid son of a bitch?

  • Dankwa | June 12, 2013 1:30 PM

    LOL. Where's the like button for Nadia's comment?

  • Nadia | June 12, 2013 1:18 PM

    You're answering a question that wasn't asked. Stick to topic instead of using this as a platform to bash.

  • ALM | June 12, 2013 12:53 PMReply

    Mr. Marin and Jules read my mind. Nate Parker immediately came to mind when I saw the title of this article.

  • Jules | June 12, 2013 12:44 PMReply

    Nate Parker or Anthony Mackie. Spike Lee has worked with both of them before and they both have the acting chops.

  • Mr. Marin | June 12, 2013 12:39 PMReply

    I'd love to see more of Spike and Nate Parker. I thought that would be the case when I seen Nate's name on an early cast for 'Oldboy' especially after his work on 'Red Hook Summer'. I know Nate has great respect for Spike. They should collab more often!

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