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Development and writing Russell Crowe pictured here in worked with director Ridley Scott on the film's script. However, Scott did not immediately pursue the project, choosing to make Kingdom of Heaven instead. Production of Tru Blu was reset to begin in early fall , with the film slated for a release date of June 3, The studio also sought for American Gangster to be produced in Toronto rather than New York City to save money, but Fuqua resisted the re-location. The studio's parent company General Electric received tax credits in New York City, so production was moved to the city. Fuqua's camp insisted that it was seeking ways to reduce the budget, but the studio contended several aspects of the project under him. The director had wanted to film a Vietnam sequence in Thailand and to cast notable names such as Ray Liotta and John C. Reilly in minor roles. To add to the studio's budgetary concerns, Fuqua was rewriting the script during the preproduction process. The director also did not have a shot-list, final locations, and supporting actors signed to initiate production. He wears nice clothes and drives fancy cars and all that, so if that means glorifying it I guess that's the case. Washington returned to his role as Lucas, and Russell Crowe was attached to star as Roberts. The director reviewed Zaillian's script, Terry George's rewrite, and a revision by Richard Price during the project's incarnation with director Antoine Fuqua. Scott preferred Zaillian's approach and chose to follow it. In realizing the project, the director encountered a challenge in the script since the characters Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts do not encounter each other until twenty minutes before the end of the film. The director sought to flesh out the private universes of the characters that would evolve and have scenes cut between the two characters to provide a balance. Elements like Frank Lucas's interaction with his family and Richie Roberts' dysfunctional marriage were written to add to the characters' backgrounds. The film somewhat focuses on the comparatively ethical business practices of the "wicked gangster" and the womanizing and failed marriage of the "do-gooder" police detective. Washington, who was not normally a fan of gangster films, chose to portray Lucas when he saw "the arc of the character" had ended with prices that Lucas paid for his actions. Washington acquired Lucas's Southern accent, and Crowe practiced to match Roberts's manner of speaking and body language, requesting tape recordings of Roberts to assist in his preparation. Principal photography began in July in New York City. Approximately fifty to sixty locations were set in Harlem alone. While in the neighbourhood, Scott stated that he found several interiors that had been untouched since the s. Scott found filming in Harlem to be difficult, commenting that the rapid gentrification in Harlem provided poor opportunities for shooting angles. Briarcliff Manor in upstate New York had the locations for both the Lucas farm and the estate Lucas buys for his family. Denzel Washington, as Frank Lucas, went through 64 different costume changes. He presented the idea to Atlantic Records chairman Craig Kallman , and one of the company's artists, T. However, the deal did not go further because Universal Pictures owned the rights to the film; "It was a Universal film and they were not going to give the soundtrack to WMG " Atlantic's parent company. The composer stated that "the overall tone needed to be something bigger and darker" given the characters' strong personalities, and while not being the original intention, he added shades of blues and soul music to fit the s setting. Additional score material was composed and recorded by Hank Shocklee. The film had a profound resonance on the musician, who decided to create a concept album, also entitled American Gangster. It was speculated that the album's release in conjunction with the film would attract a young audience and help Universal Pictures generate profits to recover from the film's troubled development history. It immediately clicked with me. Like Scarface or any one of those films, you take the good out of it, and you can see it as an inspiring film. It ranked as the 19th highest-grossing film of both domestically and worldwide. The home release included an unrated extended version of the film, featuring 18 additional minutes and an alternate ending. Scott loves his bad guy too much. And by turning Lucas into a figure who seduces instead of repels, an object of directorial fetishism and a token of black resistance, however hollow, he encourages us to submit as well. Part of this is structural and economic: Once, another gunman, or the director, might have taken direct aim at Lucas. But the world belongs to gangsters now, not cowboys. Jonathan Crocker of Time Out London was polarized with the film, criticizing its aesthetics. Schager remarked that the film was "dumb as a rock", and that it was "far too convinced of its import to be any fun. That shoulder-shimmying swagger is rarely seen, and the brand-classic robes of American Gangster sit on him heavily. Roberts criticized the portrayal of Lucas, describing it as "almost noble". While McMahon noted that the intertitle that appears at the end of the film, stating that Lucas' collaboration led to the arrest of many corrupt DEA agents, was "wholly inaccurate", in that Lucas' cooperation did not lead to the convictions, and admonished that "It would behoove a major corporation like Universal which is owned by a major news organization, NBC not to put inaccurate statements at the end of popular films", she stated that the film failed to meet legal standards of defamation because it failed to "show a single person who is identifiable as a DEA agent". Ron Chepesiuk, a biographer of Frank Lucas, deemed the story as a myth. Associated Press entertainment writer Frank Coyle noted that "this mess happened partly because journalists have been relying on secondary sources removed from the actual events. Prior to the film's release, it was observed as a candidate for the Academy Awards based on its style and the performances of its actors, including the possibility of an Academy Award for Best Director for Ridley Scott. Rubino set decoration were up for Best Art Direction.
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