WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—On Friday, Jan. 15, “The Book of Eli,” starring Denzel Washington, opened in theatres nationwide. The film is directed by twin brothers Allen and Albert Hughes, whose previous commercial film was “From Hell,” released in 2001.
In an article published in USA Today earlier this week, director Albert Hughes talked about their experiences, saying, “People were hailing us as the new school of black directors. I hated that. For one, we’re half Armenian, half black. For another, that’s offensive. We wouldn’t pose with other young black directors, because you wouldn’t do that with, say, Italian directors” (see “‘Book of Eli’ directors Allen and Albert Hughes open up” by Scott Bowles, USA Today, Jan. 14, 2010).
The Hughes brothers were born in Detroit, Mich. Their African-American father left them when they were two. Thereafter, together with their “staunch feminist” Armenian mother, Aida, they moved to Pomona, Calif. (see “The Brothers Hughes” by Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today, Oct. 18, 2001).
The Huges brothers often talk about their Armenian background. In a 2005 interview with Hrag Vartanian, Albert Hughes said, “One thing [our Armenian side] did was to provide an audience. When we began making movies, they were supportive. While the black side was not open to us because we were half white, the Armenian half always welcomed us. I attribute generosity and humbleness to Armenians… Is that a trait of the culture…Armenians, in my opinion, are generous to a fault. I’ve never been greedy and that comes from my Armenian side”