Bay Area football fans are curious to hear former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick clarify what happened as he sat during the 2016 national anthem to protest racial injustice. as a player without a team, must prepare for the surprise from the new Netflix series about him.
The ambitious six-part Colin in Black and White, coming October 29, does not address that day and its aftermath. Rather, it has to do with something that happened earlier in the star athlete’s life that brought him to that moment he felt around the world.
Created and created by Kapernick and co-creator Michael Starrbury, the adventurous project Ava DuVernay dramatizes the formative experiences of Kapernick’s adolescence, who lived and played school football as an interracial child in rural Turlock. It ends when he finally receives a football scholarship from the University of Nevada.
Kaepernick’s story became synonymous with discussions of race and racism in America, but Starrbury never saw the show as a vehicle to change people’s attitudes towards Kaepernick.
“My idea was not to change opinions, spark any controversy, or make them even more polarized than they really are,” he says from Los Angeles. “It was, ‘This is what happened to this kid.’ This is how he relates to it – in his voiceover, narration and stories he tells that relate to him as a child, and you can empathize with it or not. That’s how he felt about it. ”
“This is where a man came from, brave enough to kneel,” he added.
“Colin in Black and White” takes a rather radical narrative approach in telling the story of Kapernick, where a 33-year-old man not only acts as the narrator, but also breaks down the Fourth Wall to occasionally watch dramatic re-creations from the sidelines. Sometimes he even goes straight into action, watching his young self (played by Jaden Michael).
Duvernay and Starrbury always wanted Kaepernick to perform in front of an audience, but figuring out how to do it successfully was a real challenge. What they didn’t want to do was portray things with a more reflective adult gaze.
“It’s kind of tricky, but given that the real Colin is as smart as he is, it allowed us to make these little historical moments that we can see are related to what his story is about, which is not too On the nose”.
It was important that writers not “put the knowledge of 30-year-old Colin into the head of (younger) Colin,” Starrbury said.
Starrbury led the series’ writing team, which stars Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds) as his supportive, outspoken and sometimes ignorant adoptive parents, Rick and Teresa Kapernik. and serious.
Starrby is familiar with diving deep into high-profile stories to grasp the more complex truths. He was nominated for an Emmy Writer for his other collaboration with DuVernet, the challenging 2019 Netflix miniseries When They See Us, which follows the unfairly accused and persecuted blacks known as Central Park 5 who were forced by police to give false confessions. about the rape of a white runner.
Starberry became a member of the Kapernick series when he received a call from Selma’s director Duvernet.
To understand who Kapernik is, he met the activist, who remains a free agent, at dinner with Duvernay. The stories of his life flowed from here and continued throughout the entire process. Soon, a structure on how to tie them all began to crystallize.
The impressionistic, roughly 30-minute episodes encompass Richard Linlater-like passages from Kapernik’s life, critical moments that may not have seemed so dramatic when he went through them, but recount in retrospect who he is today. They range from how Kapernik gets pigtails and hears negative comments about his hair, to the very different reactions he got from his family when he took a white girl to a winter ball, compared to when he dated a black girl.
The final episode will be of particular interest to Bay Area viewers as it relates to numerous college scholarship waiver letters received by Capernake, including the Stanford logo. The episode also recreates the day he and his father visited the UC Berkeley campus and met with the coaches there, but was bypassed. This is a tender and emotional moment.
Taken together, these stories provide a clearer and more detailed portrait of Kapernik, who may have been lost in the frenzy of social media. But there are more details in his life that Starrbury would like to explore, including the experiences of ex-49s moving from Turlock to a more diverse college setting. Other stories, such as Kaepernick’s recollection of a truck with a Confederate flag flying through the city he grew up in and his realization that a high-ranking KKK member lives in a nearby town, did not fit the storyline. though, Starrbury adds, “nothing really was taboo.”
Surprisingly, the only topic that did not interest those who worked on the project related to his time in the NFL.
“The NFL stuff,” Starrbury says, “is less exciting than the origins of this thing.”