By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Oscar winning filmmaker and actor Kevin Costner (“Dances With Wolves,” “Field of Dreams”) grew up in ethnically diverse Compton and other Southern California communities, where simmering racial and ethnic tensions sometimes boiled to the surface. So when he read Mike Binder’s screenplay “Black or White,” which tackles the subject of race relations head-on, he knew he had to ensure that the picture would get made, so came onboard not only as the star of the film but he also as a producer.
Binder, a veteran film and TV show director and actor, was inspired to write the screenplay from his own experience. After his wife’s sister died, leaving a 7-year-old biracial child without parents, Binder and his wife and one of her brothers stepped in to help raise the boy, bringing him from their Santa Monica home to his estranged father’s family in South Central for weekend visits. Binder was struck by the differences between the two worlds, located just a dozen or so miles apart, as well as some remarkable similarities.