Antoine Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven opened this weekend to a solid $35 million start. But, big movie success is nothing new for the director. From leading projects like Southpaw, Shooter, and Olympus Has Fallen, with big named actors such as Mark Wahlberg, Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, 50 Cent, and Denzel Washington, Fuqua has risen to the top when considering big name directors.
Fuqua’s biggest victory came with the critically acclaimed film Training Day, ending in Denzel Washington winning the coveted Oscar for Best Actor.
Despite this success, Fuqua understands that he works in an industry that struggles with diversity. For the director, he believes it’s more about proving yourself than waiting on handouts. "He rose to A-list director not because he was some affirmative action obligation, but because he took methodical steps to establish himself as an asset whose movies come in on budget and usually make money for their backers.“ Taking opportunities in commercials, music videos, and small films, Fuqua used these to segway a bigger opportunity in film.
Deadline sat down with the director on two occasions to discuss his feelings on the current state of film and diversity, and how a black kid from Pittsburgh managed to work his way to the top of Hollywood.