On Friday, social media suddenly and violently became aware of the existence of Loqueesha, a forthcoming indie comedy about a cash-strapped white man (played by the film’s writer/director Jeremy Saville) who becomes a radio star by pretending to be a black women. It…did not go over well.
The movie, set to arrive on July 12, was introduced via a press release touting the film’s, shall we say, potentially problematic premise. The press release promises that the film “deftly” navigates “the prevalent themes of race and gender in our culture,” and that it “reminds us that, in the end, our personal truth is all that matters. Well, that and a good laugh.”
Accompanying the text was a photo, in which its lead actor stands in front of a microphone while both hands hold a bisected decapitated head of a black woman, somewhat reminiscent of the classic “get ready for a surprise!” scene from the original Total Recall.
A trailer, which you can watch above, also dropped, just to prove Loqueesha isn’t an elaborate, devastating joke about hubristic white people who maybe shouldn’t feel so comfortable talking publicly about race in America.
The film appears to be a Hollywood calling card from its auteur-star, a longtime actor and comic who biggest credit is a single episode of Modern Family. He’s also made a handful of shorts, a comedy TV show that doesn’t appear to have been picked up, and a feature, from 2012, called The Test, in which he played a man who, as per the IMDb description, puts his “unwitting bride-to-be through a series of increasingly bizarre ‘stress tests’ to see if she’s worthy of marriage.”
It seems The Test did not make Saville a name, but perhaps Loqueesha will. Heck, it already has. The film quickly became a viral punching bag.
In response to the last tweet, the official Loqueesha Twitter account tried to put out the fire by offering Patton Oswalt an invite to the movie and asking him to have a great weekend.
Oswalt didn’t respond.
Saville, on his own Twitter account, weighed in, comparing his pet project to White Chicks, the not-terribly-liked yet less controversial 2004 movie in which the Wayans brothers don whiteface. Saville even threw in a blurry selfie of him with Marlon Wayans, the latter looking slightly awkward.
That also didn’t go over well.
Some people compared Loqueesha to Soul Man, the 1986 comedy in which C. Thomas Howell, in an attempt to battle affirmative action, dons blackface and pretends to be African-American in order to get into college.
Meanwhile, some took umbrage with the stereotype-embracing title.
Some criticized the basis of its premise.
Some pointed to the film’s quickly tarnished IMDb trivia page.
Others were just not having it at all.
Anyway! Again, Loqueesha hits theaters on July 12, the same day as the Chadwick Boseman thriller 12 Bridges.