Interview: Mario Van Peebles on his return to the American Western genre in Outlaw Posse

The prolific director of New Jack City, Panther and Posse returns with Outlaw Posse and we speak with Mario Van Peebles about his view on the west.

Mario Van Peebles made a big mark on cinema following in his father’s footsteps, Melvin Van Peebles, to be a unique, prominent voice for the African-American community in cinema. He would make many appearances as an actor, including working with fellow gunslinger Clint Eastwood on Heartbreak Ridge, as the sword-wielding Kane in Highlander: The Final Dimension, and taking on the monumental task of portraying Malcolm X in the Michael Mann film, Ali. However, in 1991, New Jack City, which co-stars Ice-T, would put Van Peebles on the map as a director, and he would parlay his run with movies like Panther and the 1993 western film, Posse, in which he also starred.

Peeble returns to the Western genre in a semi-sequel to his 1993 movie that also sports an ensemble of impressive names. Outlaw Posse has Van Peebles working both in front and behind the camera again, and would even have him share the screen with his real-life son, Mandela Van Peebles, as he continues the family film legacy. Mario has been incredibly gracious to sit down with us to talk about Outlaw Posse, which comes out on March 1.

The plot synopsis involves “the Wild West of 1908, where men in power take advantage of an unfair world where corruption and greed run deep. Renegade cowboy Chief (Mario Van Peebles), eager to restore balance, assembles a daring group of outcasts and saddles up on a cross-country odyssey to reclaim stolen gold in unsettled territory. Pursued by the vengeful lawman Angel (Mapother), the posse is caught in a deadly game of survival and redemption, navigating the treacherous terrain of gunfights, showdowns, and horse chases. United by honor, they encounter allies such as Stagecoach Mary (Goldberg) that shape their destiny. As they venture closer to the hidden treasure, they soon learn survival is the only justice.”

The new star-studded film sports a cast that’s headed by Van Peebles, and is joined by Whoopi Goldberg, Edward James Olmos, Cedric the Entertainer, as well as William Mapother, John Carroll Lynch known for Fargo and The Founder, D.C. Young Fly, seen in House Party, Jake Manley of Midway, Mario’s real life son, Mandela Van Peebles, known for Jigsaw, Amber Reign Smith from Wu-Tang: An American Saga, Neal McDonough, who can be seen in Minority Report and Captain America: The First Avenger. The film also features Allen Payne, Cam Gigandet and M. Emmet Walsh.

About the Author

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E.J. is a News Editor at JoBlo, as well as a Video Editor, Writer, and Narrator for some of the movie retrospectives on our JoBlo Originals YouTube channel, including Reel Action, Revisited and some of the Top 10 lists. He is a graduate of the film program at Missouri Western State University with concentrations in performance, writing, editing and directing.