Woody Allen has specifically requested that no black actors be used for the Cotton Club scenes in his new Bullets Over Broadway production opening Thursday night at the St. James Theatre. Though Allen’s casting team recommended incorporating black actors into the scenes at the famous Harlem club, Allen refused to admit any but white actors for the sequences.
The NY Daily News reports that though the production team had considered casting a “big-name African-American actor” for the Cotton Club scenes, Allen shut down the idea, reportedly stating that he did not want any black gangsters in his play:
A source tells Confidenti@l that’s because Allen specifically requested there be no black gangsters in his musical, though it isn’t clear why Allen chose that route.
“Everyone’s white at Woody’s Cotton Club and in the gangster numbers,” says our well-placed Broadway insider. “Casting was considering a big-name African-American actor for the play, but Woody passed because he just got the idea that a black gangster wouldn’t be good. One man wasn’t asked back and then was told it was Woody who didn’t want any black gangsters.”
Our source adds that the casting team told Allen a scene re-creating the iconic Harlem club, which was popular with black clubgoers, should actually feature some.
As the NY Daily News highlights, the controversial Allen has been criticized in the past for not featuring many homosexuals in his films. Allen has frequented the headlines as of late when his daughter Dylan Farrow released a statement describing being molested by Allen when she was 7 years old.