Mahershala Ali Speaks on 'Green Book' Controversy After Golden Globes Win: 'I Respect the Family'

Mahershala Ali spoke backstage on the controversy surrounding the film's depiction of Dr. Don Shirley.

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Image via Getty/Frederick M. Brown

green book

Mahershala Ali, who bagged a Golden Globe Sunday night for his portrayal of Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book, has shared more of his thoughts on the controversy surrounding the late jazz musician's depiction in the film.

As you may or may not recall, members of Don Shirley's family were interviewed for Shadow and Act in 2018. During the interview, Dr. Maurice Shirley—Don's last living brother—notably assessed the film as a "symphony of lies" that included what the family has argued is a mischaracterization of Don's relationship with driver Tony Lip, portrayed in Peter Farrelly's film by Viggo Mortensen.

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Backstage at the Globes Sunday night, the star of the upcoming third batch of True Detective again expressed respect for the family. "I will say this, my job is always the same: I have to look at what I am doing and be responsible for it," he said, according toDeadline. Ali added that he doesn't want to "throw away" the work done by himself and others on the production. "I respect the family…and Don Shirley," he said. "I spoke to the studio and the family and at the end of the day you wish everyone was happy and you don't want to offend anyone in any capacity."

Last month, Don Shirley's nephew Edwin Shirley III revealed that Ali had given the family a personal phone call during which he "profusely" apologized for any anguish the film may have put them through. "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,'" Edwin said of their conversation.

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