Although the "blaxploitation" films of the '70s were derided at the time, in retrospect, the genre represented a dramatic time in cinematic history.
With the success of the indie film Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, African Americans now had movies that spoke directly to them, and they had their own movie stars as well. Fred Williamson was considered the black community's Burt Reynolds, and Pam Grier was absolutely their Racquel Welch.
Looking back on Pam Grier's films today, like Coffy and Foxy Brown, she was a strong, beautiful, take no sh*t female action hero long before women were leading action films in the mainstream.
Quentin Tarantino is clearly a huge fan, because he cast her in the lead of his under-rated gem Jackie Brown, where she was still as strong and beautiful as ever. Tarantino himself even said, "Pam Grier might have been the first female action star."
Now a movie of Grier's life is in the works, based on her autobiography Foxy. As Deadline reports, the project is set up at Imprint Entertainment (Twilight, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief). According to Michael Becker of Imprint: "Foxy succeeds at a stark impression of Grier's courage and inner strength without the use of rose-colored glasses."
Jack Hill, who wrote and directed Coffy and Foxy Brown, discovered Pam at a cattle call audition for his chicks in chains movie, The Big Doll House, and he knew right away she was special. As Hill recalls, "She impressed me so much with her natural authority and presence, and she ended up almost stealing the movie."
It's also interesting to note that this news comes right after Roger Corman, hit his 86th (!) birthday. As we've reported on TG, Roger was the OG independent filmmaker who launched the careers of many Hollywood greats, including Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Francis Ford Coppola, and many, many others.
Corman was the subject of an excellent documentary last year - Corman's World - and as a long time B movie, drive-in flick fan, it's nice to see both Corman and Grier getting their due.