Mike Binder and Kevin Costner‘s Black and White (Relativity, 12.3), which I’ve been a huge fan of all along, has run smack into the bland ambitions of Paramount Pictures, Seth Rogen, Kevin Hart and director Nicholas Stoller, and has been forced to change its title to Black or White, which really doesn’t fit the film. But Paramount has snagged the rights to Black and White (as well as Black & White, which would have served as a half-decent alternative title for the Binder-Costner) and that’s that.
Stoller’s period comedy, based on a script by Rodney Rothman, will costar Rogen and Hart as the first-ever duo of separate-race cops working together in an LAPD squad car in the late 1940s. If it gets made, that is. The film hasn’t been given a formal go-ahead but Stoller sounded confident when he talked about it with Collider‘s Steve Weintraub earlier this year.
The irony is that during the Collider interview Stoller didn’t sound all that thrilled about Black and White, and in fact seemed more enthusiastic about calling it Jazz Cops, which actually is a better title. Stoller explained to Weintraub that Rogen and Hart’s characters have to “infiltrate the jazz scene to bust jazz musicians for weed.”
Once again I love the Binder-Costner but Black or White is not the right title. It obviously implies that a choice needs to be made. Which color, which realm, which culture, one or the other, etc. Binder and Costner’s film is not about that. It’s about parenting, responsibility, blending it all together and doing the right thing for a little girl.
I suppose it’s better to drop it and focus on the film, but Paramount and Stoller are being dicks about this. Jazz Cops has a nice period vibe plus it sounds cooler and slicker than Black and White, certainly in a comedic context. Five’ll get you ten they’ll never use Black and White. I’ll bet anyone $50 bucks.
Monday morning quarterbacking: You know what the best title for the Binder-Costner would have been? Don’t Go There.