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Screenwriter, novelist, commentator John Ridley on upcoming film "Red Tails"

John Ridley speaks at the Filmmaker Awards & Brunch during AFI FEST 2007.
John Ridley speaks at the Filmmaker Awards & Brunch during AFI FEST 2007.
David Livingston/Getty Images

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John Ridley, it’s fair to say, is a modern day Renaissance man. As a screenwriter he’s best known for films like "U-Turn," "Three Kings" and "Undercover Brother," a hilarious spoof about a low-rent private eye with a seriously ‘70s sense of style complete with impressive Afro.

He has written numerous novels including "Those Who Walk in Darkness" and "A Conversation with the Mann" about an aspiring black comic’s rise to near-fame and fortune during the Rat Pack era. In his graphic novel, "The American Way," Ridley offers up a unique take on the superhero myth seen through the Cold War politics and civil rights upheavals of the early '60s.

Now, the multi-talented man is working on a new novel based on his 2006 socio-political essay “The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger,” published in Esquire. "Red Tails," which Ridley wrote for Lucasfilm, will be released on January 20, 2011. Directed by Anthony Hemingway and starring Cuba Gooding Jr., “Red Tails” tells the true story of the Tuskgee Airmen, a highly successful African-American aerial combat unit that overcame segregation and racism to win the right to fight in missions throughout Europe and Northern Africa in World War II.

Ridley joins Larry in-studio to dish about his dizzying list of projects, past and present and his ongoing effort to keep it real.


John Ridley, screenwriter and author; his works include the feature films "Red Tails," "U-Turn," "Three Kings," and "Undercover Brother"; novels "The Drift," "Those Who Walk In Darkness," "A Conversation With the Mann," "Love is a Racket," "Everybody Smokes in Hell," and "Stray Dogs"; and the graphic novel "The American Way."