Sidney Poitier biopic: Apple documentary to explore Oscar winners life

Sidney Poitier biopic: Apple documentary to explore Oscar winners life

01/10/2022

Sir Sidney Poitier dies at the age of 94

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Sidney Poitier is considered one of the greatest Hollywood actors, not just in his day, but for all time. From juvenile delinquent to Oscar winner, Poitier’s legacy cannot be understated. Following his tragic passing, Apple and Oprah Winfrey have announced a documentary that will highlight his life and career. 

The Sidney Poitier documentary is aiming for a 2022/2023 release window, with the biopic looking at his life in front and behind the camera. Both a screen legend and political activist, Poitier’s life was controversial and game-changing for the industry.   

Oprah Winfrey will be stepping behind the camera of the biopic as executive producer, joined by director Reggie Hudlin.

Hudlin is no stranger to documentary filmmaking either, having helmed the Netflix-produced, 2019 biopic The Black Godfather.

Production is still in early development, with neither Hudlin nor Winfrey revealing when a trailer could drop.

While the specific details of the documentary haven’t been revealed, there will be a lot for it to cover. Poitier lived an impressive life both in front and behind the camera.

As politically active as he was a Hollywood superstar, Poitier dedicated his life to helping underrepresented groups and addressing racial stereotypes on screen.

Born in the Bahamas, Poitier’s parents were worried he would fall into a life of delinquency at a young age and opted to send him away for better prospects. They chose Miami, Florida, but it wasn’t long before Poitier set his sights on someplace much bigger. 

Poitier eventually moved to New York City, though was sadly robbed on his way to the Big Apple. Arriving with just a few dollars to his name, Poitier lived on the streets taking odd jobs wherever he could. 

This eventually led him to the theatre, more interested in money rather than art. Initially rejected by the casting director, he worked his way up from janitor to eventually starring in major theatre productions. 

From here he was spotted by a Hollywood talent scout, placing him in the 1950 crime drama No Way Out. Starring as a doctor that must treat two racist convicts, the role set the stage for the rest of his forward-thinking and controversial career.

He would go on to star in classics such as To Sir, with Love, In the Heat of the Night, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, all from 1967. For his 1963 film Lilies of the Field, Poitier became the first black actor to win an Oscar for best performance.  

While he did continue to act, Poitier became more politically active from 1968 onwards, returning to the Bahamas to help the less fortunate.

Poitier felt immense responsibility to address the racial inequalities of the day, which was reflected in his films and personal life.

His last major film role came in 1997’s The Jackal, where he starred opposite Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, and JK Simmons. 

In 2001, Poitier fully retired from acting, leaving behind one of the greatest Hollywood legacies of any actor.

Poitier passed away on Friday, January 9, at the age of 94. 

Following his death, Poitier’s family released a statement, reading: “To us, Sidney Poitier was not only a brilliant actor, activist and a man of incredible grace and moral fortitude, he was also a devoted and loving husband, a supportive and adoring father and a man who always put family first.

“Although he is no longer here with us in this realm, his beautiful soul will continue to guide and inspire us. He will live on in us, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren — in every belly laugh every curious inquiry, every act of compassion and kindness.

“His legacy will live on in the world, continuing to inspire not only with his incredible body of work but even more so with his humanity.”

The Sidney Poitier documentary will be exclusive to AppleTV+, with a likely release date of late 2022 or 2023. 

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