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FLICKS FILM & VIDEO FILE : Reel Heroes : The owner of an Oxnard casting agency wants to make a movie that will provide a black role model.

February 21, 1991|LEO SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Robert W. Lewis III of Oxnard figures it's about time that kids had a black super-hero to look up to. So he's taking matters into his own hands.

The owner of a local casting agency, Lewis would like to begin production on "Blackman, The Movie" this summer. He's already come out with T-shirts and posters, and a rap song and music video are expected to reach the public in a couple of months.

Lewis came up with the idea about eight months ago.

"I was watching the news and a story of another drive-by shooting came on. It was one of those gang things," Lewis said. "I was sitting on the couch thinking 'What can be done to stop this?' A lot of black youths are being murdered because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time."

With that on his mind, said Lewis, he went to sleep and dreamed he was a black super-hero complete with a cape, amazing powers and all the rest of the super-hero accouterments. The super-hero in his dreams was determined to stop violence and drug use and to persuade kids to stay in school.

Lewis said he woke up and outlined the story in about three hours.

"It takes place in Los Angeles, and it's about a black guy who went to school and came back and found that his community was being torn apart by villains, criminals and bandits," he said.

As Clark Kent is to Superman, Lewis' Nathanial Carver is to Blackman. When he's not doing amazing things, Carver dabbles in medical technology. While searching for a treatment for some patients, Carver finds a means of acquiring some sort of superpower.

Lewis stopped short of describing exactly what this power is.

"It's very unique," he said. "He's a black super-hero. He's not going to be like the other super-heroes."

Lewis would like the film to be suitable for both children and adults. And he thinks any audience will appreciate the message.

"The white community will love it because there has never been a black super-hero. They appreciate it. And the black community is starving for it," he said. "Sooner or later there's going to be a black president, so sooner or later there's going to be a black super-hero."

For the young: Ray D. Prueter Library in Port Hueneme is offering three movies with four-legged themes at its family film night Feb. 27.

There's "Harry the Dirty Dog," a film about a dog who hates to take baths; "Mongrel Dog," a canine version of the story of "The Ugly Duckling," and "Peter and the Wolf." The triple bill will run from 7 to 8 p.m. in the library's Storytime Theatre. Admission is free.

For the not-so-young: The Ojai Film Society will show the 1989 Finnish film "Ariel" Sunday at the Ojai Playhouse. Directed by Aki Kaurismaki, "Ariel" is the satirical story of a laborer whose life begins to fall apart after he gets fired from his job. His search for happiness takes some odd turns and he finds himself living a life of crime.

Showtime, as always, is 4:30 p.m.

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