The Boondocks Creator Aaron McGruder Tells Us About The Uncle Ruckus Movie
It’s always scary when Hollywood tries to bring your favorite comic and cartoon characters to life in live-action films. For every success story like Sin City, there are innumerable steaming piles of shit like Aeon Flux. So when I heard there were plans to pull Uncle Ruckus from the pages of The Boondocks and put him on the big screen in a live action R-rated comedy, I had a lot of questions. Uncle Ruckus isn’t just any ordinary fictional character, and The Boondocks isn’t your average comic strip and animated series. The Boondocks, now in the midst of producing its fourth season for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, is one of the few programs on television that uses scathing satire to make you laugh and think critically about racial issues, politics, and modern life in America. And Uncle Ruckus—the white-people worshipping one-eyed right-wing nut job whose name has superseded “Uncle Tom” as the preferred pejorative for black sellouts—is probably the show’s most compelling and painfully hilarious character. When I first heard about the proposition of The Uncle Ruckus Movie, the last thing I wanted was for Hollywood to swoop in and make a quick buck by cashing in on the laughs Ruckus’s racist barbs garner, without delivering the more thought-provoking messages on race relations that we get in The Boondocks comic and show.
Then I saw the teaser below, and all of my doubts were put to rest. In it, actor Gary Anthony, who voices Ruckus on the Adult Swim series, appears in full Ruckus regalia, equipped with a rotund belly and the signature snaggletooth. It looks perfect. And most importantly, Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder is spearheading the production, ensuring that it will be smart, confrontational, and funny, instead of a soulless cash grab.
To raise funds for the production of The Uncle Ruckus Movie, Aaron’s team has launched a Kickstarter.They’re only about halfway to their goal of $200,000, and there is only a week left to pledge. So hurry up and contribute, because if they don’t hit their target by March 1st, the project won’t be funded and we’ll never get to experience all of the new and awful ways in which a real life Ruckus can racially berate his fellow human beings.
I used this exciting news of The Uncle Ruckus Movie as an excuse to badger Aaron McGruder’s press people until they let me talk to him for a half-hour. We chatted over the phone about the new film, the origin of Ruckus, and a bunch of other things like black self-hatred, post-Obama race relations, and why Herman Cain is a real-life Uncle Ruckus.
VICE: How did you know you wanted to make a movie about Ruckus?
Aaron McGruder: It started with the fact that I’ve never had a real interest in doing anything live action with Huey and Riley, because they are impossible to cast. Even if we found two perfect kids, they would grow out of that perfect state pretty quickly. The animated series really made it impossible since their voices have been established in the minds of the fans. If you deviate from that, people are going to hate you.