‘Great Debaters’ tells story about Wiley

This past semester, Denzel Washington began a new full-length feature-film titled The Great Debaters, Gramblinites were part of the movie, which was mainly filmed in Shreveport. Several movies have been coming to the Louisiana area for filming, such as The Better Man, starring Martin Lawrence, Mike Epps, Cedric “The Entertainer,” and Mo’nique.

Washington not only starred in The Great Debaters, but was the director as well.

Many say he is the best Black male actor in the movie business. Washington has starred in movies such as Dj… vu, American Gangster (November 2007), John Q, Inside Man, and many others.

The company traveled to Grambling State University in the spring of 2007 in search of students to play extras in the movie.

Three students from Grambling – Ann Warren, Corey Patt and Alajahwon Ridgeway – took internships in the project. GSU alumnus Shaun Cobbs acted as a stand-in for Washington.

The Great Debaters is about college professor Melvin B. Tolson of Wiley College in Texas.

In 1935, Tolson inspired the students of Wiley College to start a debate team for the first time ever. The debate team eventually traveled to Howard University and won the National Championship.

Other actors who were also featured in the movie included Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett, Kimberly Elise, Denzel Whitaker, Nate Parker, and many more starred in this film.

The Great Debaters is scheduled for a 2008 release.