Monday, December 16, 2019

Orlando Jones Really got Screwed-Over

As this interview with, "Variety," Orlando Jones did makes clear, he was recently screwed-over. I will preface the rest of this article by admitting I am a big fan of Orlando Jones and therefore might be more likely to side with him--although looking at everything he seems to have really been treated horribly. That said, I have enjoyed Jones' work from the old episodes of early MadTV to the hilarious movie, "Evolution," and of course his more dramatic turns such as the reason he seems to have been given the short end of the stick metaphorical stick, playing Mr. Nancy on, "American Gods."

"American Gods," is that show you may have heard of which has had a ton of behind the scenes drama. From the first season's showrunners being fired, to the second season have a showrunner who was fired before anything began (resulting in a somewhat unguided second season where the cast had to write a lot of their own dialogue after being given the gist of what a scene was about), and now a yet another showrunner. This goes without mentioning a lot of cast getting fired, leaving, or general mayhem. I will say I watched a chunk of, "American Gods," and found that despite having a solid cast the show itself was honestly a bit of a mess and I would have watched a Hell of a lot less were it not for some great acting from Ian McShane as a seemingly-human God of Thunder, Odin (who people called Mr. Wednesday), and Orlando Jones, the African trickster God, Anansi (who was often called Mr. Nancy).
Jones at Mr. Nancy
The show was about the Gods the old fighting new Gods, like the power of television or such. Neil Gaiman wrote the books the show adapted and while I hear the books are stellar the show--as I said--was a mess behind the scenes and what we got actually made was hit-or-miss as well. Orlando Jones did a lot of hard work for, "American Gods," to the point he was asked to write the lines for basically all characters of color (American, African, or whatever, if they were non-White, essentially) and Mr. Nancy to the point he was given Writer's Guild membership to avoid angering actors' and writers' unions with him going so far above-and-beyond what he initially expected his role to be. Then he was fired.

As Jones tells it, he was strung along all of August 2019, finally informed in September the show was going in a different direction that did not need Mr. Nancy as the showrunner disliked how he represented a, "Wrong," kind of Black America that was too angry. Jones didn't say anything until December because he was hoping there would be a press release saying he was not involved anymore, some kind of announcement, but people knew nothing. He wasn't kept-on to write, he was just fired for doing too good a job as a character who stated how, "Angry gets shit done," which apparently made Charles Eglee (the new showrunner) and Freemantle Media too anxious. Yes, this is the same Freemantle media that fired Gabrielle Union from, "America's Got Talent," for reasons that apparently range from her being, "Difficult to work with," which requires some reading-between-the-lines to reasons like her hair looked, "Too black," which requires no reading between any lines.
Orlando Jones and Gabrielle Union have apparently been speaking to each other about Freemantle.
Freemantle has claimed the show didn't need Mr. Nancy this season due to using parts of the books that lacked him. Okay, so then why not keep Jones hired/optioned for future seasons so he could seek-out other work until needed? Perhaps keep him around writing as he was doing so much of that? Maybe at least tell him this instead of keeping him sitting around waiting a whole month to hear the news, then some more months for anything to actually be said once he told people finally what was up? Yeah, Orlando Jones got screwed-over, and good on him for speaking up about it.

1 comment:

  1. Ah man! I loved him! I do agree, this season was a bit of a mess.