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Michael Jai White Working On Paul Robeson Biopic + Was Offered 'Expendables' But Had Conflicts

Shadow and Act By Courtney | Shadow and Act October 29, 2012 at 8:52PM

In the below interview, Leslie Carvery caught up with Michael Jai White in Las Vegas, where he was on-hand for a documentary film project he's a part of. 
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Michael J White And 'Generation Iron' Director Vlad Yudin
Michael J White And 'Generation Iron' Director Vlad Yudin

In the below interview, Leslie Carvery caught up with Michael Jai White in Las Vegas, where he was on-hand for a documentary film project he's a part of. 

During the interview, White revealed a few things that I thought were worth sharing.

First, regarding the documentary mentioned, it's titled Generation Iron, and is something of a sequel to Pumping Iron, the 1977 film about the world of bodybuilding, focusing on the 1975 Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions, which was maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger's introduction to the world, or at least, the USA.

A quick search revealed that Generation Iron is being directed by Vlad Yudin, and will be produced by the same folks who brought us Pumping Iron. 

According to its website, Generation Iron will...

... examine the professional sport of bodybuilding today and gives the audience front row access to the lives of the top 7 bodybuilders in the sport as they train to compete in the world's most premiere bodybuilding stage - Mr. Olympia.

Some of the names who'll appear in front of the camera include Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Branch Warren, Dennis Wolf, Ben Pakulski, Hidetada Yamigishi, Roelly Winklaar, and Victor Martinez, amongst others.

This is not a world that I'm familiar with, but I'm sure those who are in-the-know will recognize some, if not all of those names. 

I did learn, with a search, that Phil Heath (who's black) is a current 2x Mr. Olympia champion, as you'll see in the trailer below.

The film is still in production, and, according to its Facebook page, won't be complete until sometime in 2013.

Jerome Gary, Edwin Mejia, Vlad Yudin, Robin Chang, Eric Weider, and Jim Manion are all listed as producers.

Secondly, White revealed that he was asked to be a part of the first Expendables movie, to play the part that went to Stone Cold Steve Austin (and not the Terry Crews role as you might expect), but he was busy with another project, and so there was a scheduling conflict. Although he seemed like he was interested. 

Finally, third, and what I thought was the most interesting revelation, is that he intends to bring the life story of Paul Robeson to the big screen, with him playing the Robeson. He laments the fact that Robeson's legacy seems to have been forgotten, and suggests that he hasn't been given the proper recognition he deserves, given what he accomplished, calling him a personal as well as a national hero.

When asked whether he'd be involved in front of, or behind the camera, White insists that he IS the person to play Robeson, adding that it's a part that he can definitely do justice to.

He further goes on to say that the project is in the works, that he's attached to it, and it's a personal quest for him to see that it gets done. 

Following below, first watch the trailer for Generation Iron, and then after that, watch the full interview with White:


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