It’s ironic that I stumbled onto this recent Grantland article about Tyrin Turner, considering that, just a few weeks ago, I watched the Hughes Brothers’ Menace II Society for the first time in many years.
It’s amazing as well that it’s been over 20 years since that film was made, and that, even today, it is, unfortunately, still as relevant as ever. Perhaps even more so.
It is a grim experience watching that film and wondering how many young black men (and women) have ended up dead since that film came out.
But what about those involved with the film? The Hughes brothers are still making films. Bill Duke and Larenz Tate are still around, and Samuel l. Jackson hasn’t been exactly lacking for work. Also Jada Pinkett married very well - to say the least..
But whatever happened to Turner?
Yes, Tate played the most memorable character with all the most shocking scenes, but it was Turner who starred as the main character, Caine, in Menace.
After the film came out, everyone said he was going to be a big star and predicted a major acting career for him. Even Roger Ebert told him that he should have been nominated for an Oscar that year.
But all the big predictions didn’t come to pass.
So what went wrong?
Well, according to the Grantland piece (which you can read in its entirety HERE), it was a combination of things: Bad luck, bad decisions, bad timing, typecasting and missed opportunities, for starters.
Along with an misguided attempt to establish a rap career and a falling out with the Hughes brothers, Turner’s career failed to take off, and he’s currently trying to make a comeback at the age of 41.
And yet his story is all-too common in this business. He is among many who, at one time, had bright, shiny, promising futures, only to see them dashed to bits.
But can Turner make a comeback? Of course. Anything is possible, and if there is one thing for certain about this business, it is that there are no rules.
He's learned a lot of lessons along the way, but he's got a lot of ground to make up.