‘Remember The Titans’ Stars Ryan Hurst & Wood Harris Say They Were Treated Differently On Set Because Of Their Race
On the 20-year anniversary of Remember the Titans ‘ actors Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst are looking back on the film, which starred Denzel Washington. They surprisingly recalled a moment of racism that took place while the movie was being shot.
Both Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst describe a White woman who was on set, that treated both of the actors differently, seemingly because of their race. Ryan Hurst recalled:
“Harris said, ‘Just watch how she treats you, watch how she treats me.'”
“We went in there, I sat down and I was talking with her and she was on her elbows leaning close to me. Then Wood walked over and she moved her chair back a little, leaned back, crossed her legs, crossed her arms, and Wood looked over at me and nodded at me.”
Ryan Hurst says that he noticed several other times on set with moments similar to that. He says,
“It just showed me, it doesn’t matter how socially aware you are, experientially, as a white man, you’re born to be fu**ing ignorant.”
The movie’s storyline follows a Black coach played by Denzel Washington, and his journey in integrating Black and White players on the T.C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Virginia. Both Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst say that after being apart of the film, it has been easy for them to relate to the current Black Lives Matter movement and how athletes have shown their support for the movement. Hurst adds that he is in:
“full support of every sport that has been protesting in the way they have.”
Wood Harris says that although he didn’t experience racism growing up, his mother did when she was restricted from going to restaurants because of the color of her skin.
“My mother grew up in that era where she couldn’t go to a restaurant, but I can’t feel that. Sometimes white people might understand something but not garner a feeling for it. Sometimes, the feeling is what makes you really get it.”
He continued on saying that that is why George Floyd‘s death, replaying live online in this day and age was so “paralyzing.”
“That’s why George Floyd was so paralyzing for everyone to a certain degree. We all saw it like a snuff film, and we didn’t know we were going to see a snuff film. There was an era where you wouldn’t see somebody dying online. Now we can comfortably watch an officer put a knee on a person. It’s showing you the degree of darkness that we’ve been ignoring.”
Wood Harris also adds that sports as a whole is a racist industry.
“The business of sports is racist because we live in America, where the place is pretty much founded on racist principles.”
He added that Black people taking a knee during a football game doesn’t have cultural meaning for a White person as it does for a Black person watching football.
“If I’m a white guy, I can just watch Monday Night Football. I don’t have to worry about a guy taking a knee for a cause of a culture that I’m not in. Those are the things that white people don’t have to think about.”
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