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Gossett Jr. Says Latest has ‘Long Shelf Life’

31 Aug, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

Pitching a story about racism in the mid-1960s might have been enough to get Louis Gossett Jr. on board, but it was the script of The Least Among You and how the story relates to today’s world that convinced the actor to join the project.

“With everything going on today, it’s a very timely movie,” the 74-year-old actor said. “It’s a phrase from the Bible, and this movie shows that, like today, things change, whether you like it or not. Open your eyes.”

The film is based on a true story and follows a black college grad falsely accused of a crime following the Watts riot of 1965. Forced to serve probation at an all-white seminary that’s looking to break the color barrier, the young man (Cedric Sanders, American Gangster) comes close to a complete breakdown before an older, ex-alcoholic janitor (Gossett Jr., An Officer and a Gentleman) takes him under his wing and helps him past the racism and daily abuse.

Lionsgate released the 2009 film on DVD ($19.98) Aug. 24, including interviews with the real-life reverend Sanders portrays and the crew of the film, deleted scenes, and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Gossett Jr. said that in this movie, he sees themes of racism that still exist today.

“It’s a very important film for a lot of reasons, from racism to identity,” he said. “It’s just one of those kinds of films, where the medium is the message. It will have a very long shelf life.

“Adversity is only a test, and we always have to pass it. Take on challenges, handle them.”

The actor also said the film is worth a look for the performance by Sanders.

“He did very well in that role,” Gossett Jr. said. “He’s going a long way.”

The film also stars Lauren Holly (Any Given Sunday), William Devane (Hollow Man, Space Cowboys) and Siena Goines (The 40-Year-Old Virgin).

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