After Green Book, the 2018 film chronicling the life of the famous jazz musician, Dr. Donald Waldridge Shirley was called a “symphony of lies” by the remaining family members, Mahershala Ali (who plays Shirley) has issued a private apology to the living relatives. Calling Dr. Shirley’s nephew Edwin Shirley III and brother Maurice Shirley, Ali offered his regrets for the films facade.
“I got a call from Mahershala Ali, a very, very respectful phone call, from him personally,” Edwin said. “He called me and my Uncle Maurice in which he apologized profusely if there had been any offense. What he said was, ‘If I have offended you, I am so, so terribly sorry. I did the best I could with the material I had. I was not aware that there were close relatives with whom I could have consulted to add some nuance to the character.'”
The film depicted a black man (Shirley) and a racist Italian-American driver, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga who became unlikely friends after spending time on the road together, but according to Maurice, no such bond existed. Instead, the two men hated each other, resulting in Vallelonga’s eventual termination, Edwin said in an interview with Shadow And Act.
Though the film has received excellent reviews and academy award nominations, the film has been shrouded in scandal since hitting theaters Nov. 21.