All Articles Tagged "film"
Usher Raymond is making some Hollywood moves. The singer is doing double movie duty with his credit as executive producer of the upcoming education documentary Undroppable. And he’s got a role in Hands of Stone as legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.
Undroppable is about the dropout epidemic in the U.S. educational system, which will include direct feedback from American students. Written and directed by Jason Pollock, the film will be supported by a social media/video campaign that will allow students to discuss the issues they face in school reports Uptown magazine.
Raymond has signed on as executive producer with Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber‘s manager) who introduced him to the project. Adam McKay, Sharon Chang, Alex Soros and John Powers Middleton are also listed as executive producers on the project.
“I knew Usher was very passionate about the issue of education, so I felt this was a great project to bring him into,” said Braun. “His expertise will be invaluable as we continue this film and movement.”
Undroppable will be a 2014 release.
Usher has executive produced or produced other film projects, including the 2011 Justin Bieber: Never Say Never documentary (producer); 2005′s In the Mix (executive producer); and the TV movie documentary One Night One Star: Usher Live in 2005 (producer).
Hands of Stone is about Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran who fought Sugar Ray Leonard and other big name pugilists during his heyday, winning 103 out of 119 fights. Duran’s rivalry with Sugar Ray was legendary.
The movie will also star Edgar Ramirez as Duran and Robert De Niro as Duran’s coach Ray Arcel.
‘Black Movies May Alienate Others:’ Shemar Moore On How All-Black Casts Can Be Bad For Movie Marketing
Shemar Moore recently reached his fundraising goal for his upcoming film project, The Bounce Back, which is somewhat of romantic dramady about finding love. He recently sat down to chat with Shadow and Act about the project, color casting and why all-black casts can sometimes be a detrimental marketing decision. Check out some highlights below.
On reaching his fundraising goal:
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool. This whole process has been new to me, so I didn’t really know if we had a shot or how it worked. I’m not one to ask for money so that was a little foreign to me. But then I started to understand the concept, that this is the way Hollywood is now progressing, and I could control of my own content and create stories that I want to tell. It’s kind of fun not to be a puppet anymore, where you take the strings off and you’re not saying someone else’s words. I can come up with the projects that Hollywood might not necessarily be making.”
On the plot:
“Sex sells, drama sells, love stories sell. We never get enough of falling in love and believing in love. I did a movie called Diary of a Mad Black Woman which was about finding true love. So yeah it’s going to be similar, but not exactly the same. It’s more of a dramedy. This guy writes a book because he lost the love of his life in a car accident, so there’s going to be an element of drama and heartache. But then it’s about trying to find love and giving women the rules and tips to outthink a man and keep a man”
On casting a Latina actress as his love interest:
“Nadine Velazquez is just very talented and she showed support. She was a friend of a friend who said, “I like this story, I’d love to be a part of it.” She did me a favor and we were able to shoot a little teaser. It’s not to say that my love interest couldn’t be black. We haven’t shot the movie yet. I just know that Nadine is very passionate about it and I would love to have her in the movie. But I think love is blind. I’m half black, half white. So are we going to be mad at my mother and father for being together? I wouldn’t have life without it.”
On being pegged as a “black actor:”
“I don’t see myself as a “black actor,” I’m just Shemar Moore the actor. I’m very proud to be black but I’m just as much black as I am white. But I want tell stories that everybody can relate to, so I don’t care who’s opposite me. If Halle Berry or Jada Pinkett Smith called and said, “I want to do a movie with you,” I’d be right there because I believe in their talent.”
On why a diverse cast is a wise marketing decision:
“If every character in the movie is black, it’s going to be looked at as a black movie and that might alienate other people from going to see it. But we’re very sensitive to representing all demographics and it’s going to be a very mixed cast. Whoever fits the bill and can bring the noise.”
Would you agree? Do all-black casts promote the alienation of potential viewers from other races?
If you recall, two weeks ago, Jay Z popped into New York City’s Pace Gallery to create a “performance art” piece for his song “Picasso Baby” from Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Well, that piece has turned into a bit of a project that will now premiere on HBO.
In the clip, you can see Jay Z doing what he does best: being quite charismatic when around his fans. For whatever opinions people have about them – and there are a lot, especially lately – he seems to instantly make people feel comfortable around him.
The recording of the performance piece took about six hours and the media went crazy, as many thought this was extremely creative and innovative.
It may not, however, come as a surprise to some that Jay would venture into something like this because if you’ve paid any attention to his music over the last three years or so, you know he can barely recite lyrics that don’t mention Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film will premiere on HBO, Friday, August 2nd at 11pm.
Will you be watching?
“I couldn’t walk away from it, it really wouldn’t rest. I’d watch TV and I saw people doing plays and I thought, ‘Wow why does this affect me so much?’ I had to go back to it,” said Tiffany E. Green, an up-and-coming actress and businesswoman.
Green’s proudest claim to fame is her appearance in the 2012 romantic-comedy drama Silver Linings Playbook. The role of Tanya (Chris Tucker’s girlfriend) turned out to be non-speaking. Still, Green is proud to have nabbed a role in a major film —especially since she recently recommitted to making it as an actress.
“You never know what’s going to make it when they go into the editing room. I felt good seeing myself in the film. I felt good when it went off and the credits came up — and also because it’s an Oscar-nominated film,” Green told MadameNoire via phone. “It was the first time I was on the set of a feature film with this caliber of actors. I was excited and after a while I felt like that’s where I needed to be. It wasn’t a major role, but at the time I had only been doing this for a year and it gave me confidence.”
It’s been more than ten years since Green decided that she wanted to be an actress. In 1999, she began taking classes and getting involved with community theater productions. When things in the performance arena didn’t pick up as planned, she opted to pursue an alternative passion. Green swapped out community theater for community college where she studied fashion merchandising.
Making It Behind-the-Scenes
“Through acting I realized I was into styling and wardrobe,” said Green. Though her goal was to appear on the big screen, she began working behind-the-scenes on independent films. Green then began making her own clothing and started networking with stylists in other areas of entertainment.
Lending her fashion expertise and pieces, Green landed jobs styling MTV and BET commercials in addition to BET’s annual fashion special Rip the Runway. Green also contributed to styling entertainers like Vivica A. Fox, Alicia Keys and Keyshia Cole.
“Once you build relationships with different stylists, they use your garments, then other people hear about it. It picked up so fast and suddenly I wasn’t able to pursue acting,” she said. “When I was doing it I lost the love for fashion, because there was something else that I really wanted to do — and that was acting.”
Green’s stint in fashion and entertainment lasted for about six years. When she moved back to her hometown of Philadelphia, Green decided to seriously go after an acting career. She again focused on attending workshops and acting seminars to strengthen her craft.
Getting Back Into Acting
“This is a tough business, it’s very competitive. There’s a lot of rejection and you’re constantly faced with tough decisions. It’s definitely not an easy career to follow,” said Green who’s thankful that the industry’s definition of talent carries flexibility.
“It’s not always based on how great you are. You just have to have the tools to understand why some make it and why some don’t. You just have to stay focused. I’m in Philadelphia, closer to New York so the tone is a little bit different. Hollywood is a whole different ball game,” she added.
Luckily, shortly after making a visit to a local casting agency, she was offered a part in Silver Linings Playbook. The movie happened to be filming in Philadelphia.
“You never know when opportunity awaits and you have to be prepared. There’s a saying, ‘If you stay ready, you never have to get ready’ — and I live by that,” said Green.
Do you secretly dream of stardom but can’t put the “p” in pitch? Lucky for you, you don’t have to be prolific actress or soul-shaking vocalist to make it in the show business. Plenty of work goes into making stars shine. There are countless jobs just off the stage and beyond the spotlight. If you want to be a part of creating entertainment, but know center stage isn’t for you, consider job options that play on other strengths.
This Black History Month, we celebrate some of pop culture’s most influential movers and shakers who have changed the landscape of the world of entertainment. From the first African-American billionaire to the one of the hardest working men in radio, African-Americans have pioneered various media outlets, some even simultaneously.
Here are only a few of pop culture’s African-American innovators in the areas of music, television and film. We threw in a bonus, above: Michael Jackson. Besides his singing career both with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist, and his investments across the music industry (including The Beatles portfolio), he invented the moonwalk, a move that continues to mystify and inspire dancers good and bad around the world. Check out this slideshow for more on the late, great MJ.
Tags:berry gordy, BET, Bill Cosby, black history month, Blair Bedford, business, careers, cicely tyson, denzel washington, don cornelius, film, innovators, Little Richard, Motown, music, oprah, pioneers, robert johnson, Sidney Poitier, soul train, Suzanne de Passe, television, The Cosby Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Tom Joyner
Just in time for Black History Month, Codeblack Films, a Lionsgate company, has announced that it is releasing Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, presented by BET Networks at select AMC locations in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Oakland, Philadelphia and Atlanta on April 5, 2013.
This documentary of Angela Davis was directed and written by Shola Lynch, whose previous work includes Chisholm ’72- Unbought & Unbossed. According to a press release for this film, Davis was inspired by Chisholm ’72 to “speak to young people in the 21st century and to give them a sense of what it means to feel collectively powerful and capable of changing the world.”
Jada Pinkett Smith also worked on Free Angela as an executive producer, with Overbrook Entertainment and Jay Z for Roc Nation and a number of other names in the entertainment industry. The film was a hit at the Toronto Film Festival a few months ago.
Angela Davis has been hailed as a political symbol and prominent activist in the 1960s for her involvement in the Civil Rights movement and affiliation with the Black Panthers. This film features Angela Davis’ own personal account of what led to her imprisonment. The story focuses on Davis as a young professor and social justice activist who is somehow implicated in a kidnapping attempt and a shootout that leaves four people dead. Davis ultimately lands on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. She also became a global cause, with people around the world calling her a “political prisoner” and demanding her release. The documentary coincides with the 40th anniversary of Davis’ acquittal on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy.
Fun fact: Davis became such a celebrated cause that she was the inspiration for a song by John Lennon and Yoko Ono — “Angela” — and another by The Rolling Stones — “Sweet Black Angel.” IMDB also reminds us that Davis ran for VP of the US in 1980 and 1984 under the Communist Party umbrella.
After the jump, we’ve got the trailer. Will you watch this movie?
In 1991, Anita Hill, a young law professor, testified in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee that her former mentor and then-Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas has sexually harassed her in the workplace.
Now after 22 years of silence, Anita Hill tells her story in a documentary, Anita, that debuted this week at the Sundance Film Festival. Over the years, many have tried to get Hill to go into detail about the entire experience, but she declined, preferring to speak on behalf of women’s equality. She moved on to become a professor of law, social policy, and women’s studies at Brandeis University, a position she still holds today.
But when Freida Mock, Academy Award-winning director of Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, approached Hill, the professor finally agreed. “You feel really flattered when someone as accomplished as she is approaches you,” Hill told The Morning Sun newspaper.
“I can never go back to the person I was at that moment,” Hill said during a brief interview inside a lounge on Park City’s Main Street. “We grow. We develop. We move on. Hopefully, we evolve into that person we want to be.”
The film follows Hill’s story from her rural childhood in Oklahoma. “The youngest of 13 children, her parents raised her under the saying familiar to many black children, ‘You’ve got to be twice as good to get half as much,’” reports the newspaper. Hill excelled in school and landed at Yale Law School, where she student graduated with honors in 1980. She was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar that same year. The film goes up to present day, and include her long-term relationship with Chuck Malone.
“Always at the center, though, is Hill’s testimony against then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Clarence Thomas. It defined her, but also limited her,” writes The Morning Sun.
The film also reveals that in “basement file cabinets, she keeps 25,000 letters that she’s received over the years, both from women with accounts of harassment they suffered and fathers upset over what their daughters have had to endure in the workplace.”
“I still see people who cry when they see me, or they go back to that place where they’re really angry,” Hill says in the film.
After the jump, we’ve got a Sundance interview clip with Hill and Mock.
There have been a few African-American musicians who have scored major motion pictures. Some have even won Academy Awards, such as Prince who became the first black winner of Best Original Song Score for 1984′s Purple Rain and Herbie Hancock who became the first black winner of Best Original Score for 1986′s Round Midnight. Now Jay-Z may add composer to his list of music credits.
Hollywood is abuzz with the news that the Jigga will score The Great Gatsby alongside The Bullitts. “Rumors of Jay-Z’s participation with the film started swirling when the first trailer debuted online in May,” reports Billboard. “Director Baz Luhrmann chose Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne track, ‘No Church in the Wild,’ as the music for the film’s trailer.” According to reports, the soundtrack may include songs from a range of artists — from Prince to Lady Gaga. The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan, opens on May 10.
There have been many hip-hop artists who have worked on scores for rap features, but Jay-Z may be the first hip-hop artists to score a general audience feature film. Various African-American musicians of other genres have scored feature films, going back to Duke Ellington, who was the first back person to be nominated for Best Original Score for the film Paris Blues in 1961. Other musicians who have scored films and have been nominated for an Oscar include Quincy Jones (In Cold Blood, 1967; The Wiz, 1978; The Color Purple, 1985), Isaac Hayes (Shaft, 1971), and Terence Blanchard, who has scored a number of Spike Lee movies including Malcolm X and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, among other movies. The most prolific probably is Jones who has scored more than 50 film projects.
It will be interesting to see if Jay-Z will be nominated — or even win — an Academy Award for his Gatsby composition. ICYMI: The trailer for the film is available on the next page.
A Senate update to the Video Privacy Protection Act will allow Netflix to add social functions to its site, letting customers share notice about the movies they’ve watched on Facebook and Twitter. Once President Obama signs the law, it will go in effect next year.
The previous law required a police warrant or approval before sharing video rental history. With the new sharing capability, people will automatically share the movies they’ve watched on social networks.
“Social video sharing under the new bill will come with two stipulations: Netflix and similar companies will be required to give users a ‘clear and conspicuous’ option to stop automatically sharing their views, and customers must be asked once every two years if they would like to continue sharing their views,” says Mashable.
Word-of-mouth sharing is an important factor for the success of a film when it’s released in the theaters. Whether it’s controversy — as in the cases of Zero Dark Thirty and Django Unchained, as discussed here on The Atlantic Wire — or buzz surrounding a smaller film that otherwise doesn’t have the budget to compete with something as massive as, say, The Hobbit, the act of sharing praise or interest person-to-person makes money.
In this case, Netflix would benefit more than any one film. But the question is whether people will be rushing to add this notice to their social media updates. Movie buffs might be eager to talk about what they’re watching, but do you want to add one more thing to the long list of updates that you’re posting to your social media feeds?