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‘Remember the Titans’ movie screenwriter to speak at ABCD’s Community Heroes

Colette Greenstein
Colette Greenstein has been a contributing arts & entertainment writer for the Banner since 2009. VIEW BIO
‘Remember the Titans’ movie screenwriter to speak at ABCD’s Community Heroes
Gregory Allen Howard is the screenwriter of “Remember the Titans.” (Photo: Photo courtesy ABCD)

“I still want to bring great stories to the screen. I still want to bring great historical stories; great stories featuring African American icons. I still want to do that. It’s been my passion my whole life, my whole adult life,” says “Remember the Titans” award-winning screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard.

It’s been 15 years since “Remember the Titans” graced the silver screen. The film told the true story of African American high school coach Herman Boone, (portrayed by Denzel Washington), who integrated the football team at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia in 1971.

Howard will be in Boston this Friday as the featured speaker at Action for Boston Community Development’s annual event Community Heroes Celebration being held at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel. The gala honors and celebrates 18 outstanding individuals who have volunteered tirelessly on behalf of ABCD’s neighborhood sites to serve low income children, families, and elders throughout the city.

The Virginia native, who wrote the story for the 2001 biography “Ali” which starred Will Smith, is intent on bringing more “iconic stories to the screen.” He was passionate about screenwriting from the very first day he started, he told the Banner in a phone interview. “It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Tubman adventure

Howard’s latest project is about Harriet Tubman. It’s an action adventure film called “Freedom Fire” that he’s producing with Debra Martin Chase, who executive-produced Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” starring Brandy, and produced the films “The Princess Diaries” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

Funding for “Freedom Fire” has been secured and is scheduled to begin shooting in March or April of 2016. Howard wrote the screenplay some time ago.

“Everything in life is timing,” says the writer. “I had to wait for the right time to get this off the ground because nobody thought a movie about race would make any money.”

The award-winning screen-

writer and activist has long been vocal about race in Hollywood and the lack of diversity both in front of and behind the screen. He’s a frequent guest on HuffPost Live and a contributing writer to the Huffington Post.

Howard believes some progress has been made but he says to “not be deluded in thinking that the problem has been solved in anyway.” It hasn’t, he states. The issues have been acknowledged somewhat in what Howard describes as in “fits and starts.”

Despite the current situation in Hollywood, Howard will always have fond memories of “Remember the Titans.” It not only brought him national prominence and afforded him financial security, but more importantly, according to Howard, if he doesn’t do anything else in his life, he wants his tombstone to read that “he helped to change the conversation on race and the hearts and minds of millions of people.” And for this “he’s eternally proud,” he says.