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Following a screening of Open Road Film’s and Starlight Media’s upcoming Marshall, 1,200 students at Compton High School in California attended a panel moderated by Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am on Monday, which was also live-streamed to high schools across the country.
The film centers on Thurgood Marshall who was sworn in as the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court justice on Oct. 2, 1967. His impact on America with cases like Brown v. The Board of Education was significant to the point that 50 years later, he is being celebrated and honored with Oct. 2 now being declared Thurgood Marshall day.
The film’s stars, including Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad, shared the impact Thurgood Marshall made during one of his early cases in a time in history that is not as well known to the public (which the film focuses on) and how students can be a voice for the future.
Boseman, who plays Marshall in the film, shared what drew him to the role.
“First, I knew that this was not a story about Thurgood Marshall that people would know,” he said. “You should know that he is a supreme court justice, but I knew people did not know this story — they did not know the ending of it.”
Gad described Marshall as a superhero. “This is a movie about a superhero who doesn’t wear a cape, but wears a suit and tie,” said Gad. “A superhero that doesn’t go fight bad guys that live on different planets, but fights bad guys who live in our cities, in our towns and that to me, I think, is one of the most, if not the most important parts of this film because each of you has the potential to be that superhero.”
Director Reginald Hudlin added why having a panel discussion was pivotal to the success of the event.
“I love talking to young people. Any opportunity I can talk to them about not just movies, but life and decisions and all that stuff, I mean, I know when people like that came to my school when I was young, it made a huge difference, so I’m happy to pay it forward.”
Following the panel, a group of students performed a special rendition of Andra Day’s song (featuring Common), “Stand Up for Something” which is a part of the film’s soundtrack.
Marshall hits theaters Oct. 13.
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