SHORT TAKES : Black Sought to Scale 'Fences'

From Times Wire Services

Three years after Paramount Pictures bought the rights to his award-winning play "Fences," August Wilson says production has been stalled by his insistence on a black director.

The playwright said he is seeking a director "who would approach my work with the same amount of passion and measure of respect with which I approach it and who shares the same cultural sensibilities of the characters."

"The last time I looked, all those directors were black," he wrote in the October issue of Spin magazine.

Wilson, who won a Tony and a Pulitzer for the drama in 1987, said he rejected a respected white director "not on the basis of race but on the basis of culture."

Wilson said this week that Paramount agreed in March to hire a black director and recently began suggesting names.

"I consider their agreement a small victory," he said in a statement. "I will consider their actually hiring a black director a greater victory."

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