Director and Actor Mario Van Peebles His new film is Baadasssss! It's the story of the making of 1971 classic Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. In the film, Mario Van Peebles plays his father, director Melvin Van Peebles. Mario got his start directing and starring in the film New Jack City. Other acting credits include the role of Malcolm X in the film Ali, and a role in Ten Thousand Black Men Named George, about the unionization of Pullman train porters.