Two wives of the late Bernard Garrett Sr., the central subject of Apple TV+’s The Banker, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Nicholas Hoult, Nia Long, Jessie Usher and Colm Meaney, are imploring Apple to reconsider the decision to release the film in March despite allegations that Garrett’s son — initially billed as a co-producer on the film — molested two girls in the family decades ago. The women want Apple to permanently shelve the film.
Linda Garrett and Kathy Ussery Garrett, who were married to Bernard Garrett Sr. in the 1960s and 1990s respectively, and who are not involved or depicted in The Banker, claim the movie is inaccurate and should be shelved. “The story was stolen and distorted and it has been hurtful to the family. They have manipulated the narrative,” Linda Garrett’s attorney, Todd Burns of Burns Law in San Diego, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
MacDailyNews Take: Oh, for Jobs’ sake. Every film based on real life events manipulate the narrative for dramatic purposes. Every. Single. One. Welcome to Filmmaking 101.
On Thursday, Apple said in a statement, “We wanted to take the time to understand the situation at hand — and after reviewing the information available to us, including documentation of the filmmakers’ research, we’ve decided to make this important and enlightening film available to viewers.” It will release The Banker March 6 in theaters and two weeks later on its AppleTV+ streaming service. Garrett Jr.’s credit as a co-producer has been removed and Apple says he won’t profit from the release. Following the allegations, the attorney for Romulus says the film will be changed to describe it as “based on true events.”
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in November:
Films based on the lives of people are not raw footage of actual events. They are not even documentaries. Timelines are altered, characters are added and removed, and events are changed, shortened, heightened, dramatized, reordered, eliminated, etc. because a film is an artwork, not a piece of courtroom evidence.
Apple is right to be cautious and review the matter, but the film should eventually be seen regardless. If Apple can work out a way in which Garrett Jr., if proven guilty, will not profit, forfeits profits, or donates his profits from the film to a program or programs aimed at helping victims of sexual abuse, that may be a way forward.
The filmmakers, including Nolfi, Mackie and Jackson, said in a statement Thursday about the movie’s release, “Though we have no way of knowing what may have transpired between Mr. Garrett’s children in the 1970s, including the allegations of abuse we have recently been made aware of, our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered. The film itself is not based on the recollections of any of Bernard Garrett Sr.’s children, but rather on recorded interviews with Bernard Garrett Sr. himself, conducted in 1995, supported by congressional transcripts, court rulings, and other media articles from the era. We stand by the film and its positive message of empowerment.”
MacDailyNews Take: Apple has already gone above and beyond here. Permanently shelving the film hurts hundreds of people who have worked on its creation. It’s a dramatization centered on building a banking business against steep odds, not raw footage shot from helmet cams perched atop every subject’s head.
Enough. More than enough, actually. Apple should continue with their plan release the film theatrically on March 6, 2020 and on Apple TV+ on March 20, 2020.
In December, the cast and crew of The Banker issued the following statement, verbatim:
We set out to tell a story we were very passionate about, recounting the remarkable lives of Bernard Garrett Sr and Joe Morris, and their ground-breaking achievements combating racial inequality in the 1950s and 60s. Though we have no way of knowing what may have transpired between Mr. Garrett’s children in the 1970s, including the allegations of abuse we have recently been made aware of, our hearts go out to anyone who has suffered. The film itself is not based on the recollections of any of Bernard Garrett Sr’s children, but rather, on recorded interviews with Bernard Garrett Sr himself, conducted in 1995, supported by congressional transcripts, court rulings, and other media articles from the era. We stand by the film, and its positive message of empowerment.
George Nolfi – Director, Producer, Writer
Anthony Mackie – Actor, Producer
Samuel L. Jackson – Actor, Executive Producer
Nicholas Hoult – Actor
Nia Long – Actor
Scott Daniel Johnson – Actor
Jessie T. Usher – Actor
Colm Meaney – Actor
Paul Ben-Victor – Actor
James DuMont – Actor
GregAlan Williams – Actor
Bill Kelly – Actor
Michael Harney – Actor
David Maldonado – Actor
Gralen Bryant Banks – Actor
Rhoda Griffis – Actor
Joel Viertel – Producer, Editor
Brad Feinstein – Producer
David Lewis Smith – Producer, Writer
Will Greenfield – Executive Producer, Unit Production Manager
Carlo Hart – Co-Producer
Stan Younger – Writer
Niceole Levy – Writer
Brad Caleb Kane – Writer
Charlotte Bruus Christensen – Director of Photography
John Collins – Production Designer
Aieisha Li – Costume Designer
H. Scott Salinas – Composer
Kim Coleman – Casting Director
Tonya Cryer – Hair Department Head
LaToya Henderson – Make-Up Department Head
Stephen Moore – 1st Assistant Director
Andi Crumbley – Art Director
Lynne Mitchell – Set Decorator
Mike Scherschel – Prop Master
Kayla Gueho – Location Manager
David Martin – Key Assistant Location Manager
Harrison Huffman – Production Supervisor
Huxley Rodriguez – Production Coordinator
Serena Simpson – Sound Mixer
Chris Birdsong – Key Grip
Jon Lewis – Gaffer
Karlyn Exantus – Script Supervisor
Meagan Lewis – Local Casting Director Atlanta
Mary Jasionowski – Production Accountant
Chuck Jean – Post-Production Supervisor
Gordon Williams – Music Supervisor
Michael Hatzer – Supervising Digital Colorist
David Christopher Smith – Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer
Marti Humphrey – Supervising Sound Editor, Re-Recording Mixer
Christian Wood – Visual Effects Supervisor
Chris LeDoux – Associate Visual Effects Supervisor
Cindy Rago – Visual Effects Producer