All Articles Tagged "Hollywood"

Why Black Actresses Still Aren’t Permeating The Big Screen

August 20th, 2014 - By Ezinne Ukoha
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Now that we are slowly recovering from “Lupita Nyong’o fever”, it is back to the drawing board when it comes to the representation of Black actresses on the big screen. Yes, Lupita is lovely, and her Oscar win for her hauntingly beautiful performance in 12 Years a Slave, will never be forgotten, but what happens now? The Mexican-born Kenyan actress has managed to stay relevant through her various ad campaigns and cosmetic deals, and has also scored a major role in the upcoming Star Wars movie being helmed by director J.J. Abrams. Despite all the accolades, it’s hard to gauge what lies in store for Nyong’o in terms of career trajectory. As we all know, being an Oscar-winner doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you will be at the top of the list for every casting session. Halle Berry certainly did not fare too well after her Best Actress win for Monster’s Ball back in 2002. Octavia Spencer, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Help in 2012, has been steadily working, but it is clear that she will never be regulated to leading lady status.

In fact, it is hard to imagine why Black actresses are still not in a position to nab significant roles in films, unless they are being subjected to the tutelage of Tyler Perry or other Black filmmakers. A recent piece in Vogue Magazine highlighted the new breed of “Young Hollywood”, and as expected the ingénues were Caucasian, with no actress of color in sight. Is it possible that there are no young Black actresses under the age of 35, who are coming into their own, with beauty and talent to match?

There are few of them floating around, Yaya DaCosta, 31, could have easily made the list. The America’s Next Top Model alumn, has proven beyond a doubt that she is much more than just a pretty face. From The Kids Are All Alright to The Butler, DaCosta commands the screen with every appearance, and her latest venture will have her portraying the late songbird Whitney Houston for a Lifetime movie being directed by actress Angela Bassett. English actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, 30, held her own opposite Tom Hanks in 2011’s Larry Crowne, and most recently wowed critics with her performance in Belle, where she played the title character Dido Elizabeth Belle to perfection. Former soap star, Tika Sumpter, 34, has managed to parlay her undeniable charisma to the big screen. Her notables include, Think Like a Man, Sparkle, A Madea Christmas and the summer hit Get On Up. It is somewhat hard to understand why Naturi Naughton, 30, former member of the girl group 3LW, still isn’t being adequately utilized. Her performance in the 2008 film Notorious, where she portrayed Lil’ Kim, was her first lead role and demonstrated her burgeoning talent. She has had other opportunities to shine but not as brightly as she deserves. Actress Adepero Oduye, 36, gave a stunningly heartbreaking performance in the 2011 film Pariah, which garnered her an Independent Spirits Award nomination and an inclusion in The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen Fastest-Rising Stars list for 2011. Since then she appeared opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 years a Slave, and in the remake of Steel Magnolias. But despite her winning accomplishments, it is clear that the industry still doesn’t know what to do with highly-skilled actresses who are presumably not bankable.

There are many others that fall into the same category of “young, talented and underused”. And then the movies that present and all Black cast almost always feature the same faces. Regina Hall, Nia Long, Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Sanaa Lathan and Gabrielle Union dominate the circuit while Zoe Saldana has been certified as the leading Black actress of the moment, even nabbing a role that many thought was grossly miscast. The 35-year-old actress was tapped to play the iconic crooner and civil rights activist Nina Simone, and the announcement did not sit well with fans, who feel Saldana’s physical attributes will not translate simply because both women do not share similar characteristics. The shots from set of Saldana with purposely darkened skin is evidence enough, and inspires the question of why a more suited actress wasn’t awarded the part.

The answer to that question is an infuriatingly long-standing one. Hollywood is a business, and actors are regarded as money-makers first which means that even though being skilled is a necessity, studio heads have to be convinced that you are viable enough for them to bet on you. When pitted against their White counterparts, Black actresses are still not able to prove their worth and are only allowed regulated access to sought-after scripts. The likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley, and Emma Stone currently dominate the market for leading actresses, and the veterans like Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts, are not letting up because the hits keep coming.

There has been some progress made, but it is hard to be specific because so much more work needs to be done to help give Black actresses the chance to shine in the spotlight long enough for them to swiftly pass on the torch to the generation after them. In the meantime, secondary roles will have to do unless another Lupita is on the horizon, and since we are only allotted one shining star every few years, that is highly unlikely.

 

The Struggle Is Real: Lovely Ladies Who Need To Step Up Their Acting Game

April 30th, 2014 - By M A
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WENN.com

They’re rich. They’re famous. They’re some of the most beautiful women in the world. But unfortunately time has not been kind to their acting careers. Hints of promise have been overshadowed by Razzie-worthy performances in some truly awful flicks. But regardless of some stumbles along the way, we still have faith that at least a few of these sirens can step up their game and make themselves well-known for their performances on-screen, not off.

Just In Time For Easter: Mystery Artist Depicts Kanye West Crucified In Hollywood Mural

April 18th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Mystery Artist Depicts Kanye West Crucified In Hollywood Mural

Source: WENN

 

An interesting and sure to be controversial piece of street art appeared in the the Hollywood area of Los Angeles this morning, just as millions of Christians around the country prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday or the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the mural, which was spotted for the first time this morning, Kanye has his arms spread and his feet, fitted with red Converse, crossed over one another. In this depiction he looks undeniably like Jesus on the cross. Oh, and he’s wearing a cloth around his waist. Next to the image are the words “The New Messiah?”

There’s no word yet one who might have done this.

The spray painting, which is six foot high, was perhaps a nod to the album title of Kanye’s latest LP Yeezus. Kanye has frequently referenced himself as divine with songs like “I Am A God.” And it looks like someone drank that Kool Aid.

I don’t have to tell you that this is more blasphemous than a little bit and I would be surprised if it remains up for too long.

Kanye? The Messiah? Please. The man could even save himself.

I wonder how Kanye would feel about this depiction. While he’s professed to being a Christian with Jesus being one of his idols, he’s not afraid to depict himself as the savior. And I’m not just talking about the album title, there was also the now infamous Rolling Stone cover where West donned a crown of thorns. But perhaps West believes dressing like Christ is not blasphemous but expresses his admiration.

I can’t call it.

Either way what do you think about this mural?

kanye west crucified in hollywood mural

Tinseltown Diss? John Singleton Says Hollywood Shunning Black Directors

March 26th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Despite the notable Oscar wins this year by blacks, John Singleton is very disillusioned with Hollywood. The Boyz N The Hood director, who is set to work on a Tupac Shakur biopic, says black culture is being “homogenized” on film.

The Oscar-nominated director says Hollywood ignores black filmmakers who he feels can better depict the black experience.

Singleton made the remarks while speaking to students at Loyola Marymount University in LA as part of The Hollywood Masters interview series.  According to the 46-year-old Singleton, while studios are now more willing to cover stories with an African-American theme, they don’t hire black directors to helm the projects. “They want black people [to be] what they want them to be. And nobody is man enough to go and say that,” he said. “They want black people to be who they want them to be, as opposed to what they are. The black films now — so-called black films now — they’re great. They’re great films. But they’re just product.

“They’re not moving the bar forward creatively… When you try to make it homogenized, when you try to make it appeal to everybody, then you don’t have anything that’s special,”he said.

Singleton, who was the youngest ever best director Oscar nominee for 1991’s Boyz N The Hood, said Hollywood has changed for the worse since he first got started.  “They feel that they’re not racist,” he said. “They grew up with hip-hop, so [they] can’t be racist. ‘I like Jay Z, but that don’t mean I got to give you a job.'”

According to Singleton, there are fewer industry insiders who will go to bat for black directors now, unlike when he was trying to get Boyz N The Hood (starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr, Morris Chestnut and Laurence Fishburne) made. A former Columbia Pictures producer fought for the then-24-year-old Singleton to direct. “Stephanie Allain kicked and screamed to get Boyz N The Hood made,” he said. “Those people don’t exist any more, whether they’re black, white or whatever.”

Singleton, who says he’s deeply vested in his new project, told students of how Tupac’s death in 1996 affected him.

“It set my life on a whole other trajectory,” Singleton told his audience. “I went and left the country for about a month. I just couldn’t cope … I felt, the danger ain’t sexy anymore. I got to change it up, not necessarily just as a filmmaker, but just as a person, and kind of grow up.”

Could Superman Be Black? Movie Franchises We Want To See In Color

March 10th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Recently, Idrid Elba showed up to DJ a party dressed as Superman. He looked so good in the suit, fans immediately started petitioning Hollywood to make a new movie for their favorite hunk. We think that’s a great idea and here are more famous movie franchises we’d like to see in color.

Image Source: Milleniumfilms.com/Tumblr.com

Image Source: Milleniumfilms.com/Tumblr.com

Terry Crews as Rambo

Three 90-minute movies featuring Terry Crews in a headband and no shirt? Yes please.

A Rags To Riches Hollywood Story? Barkhad Abdi & The Cost Of Being An Actor

March 6th, 2014 - By Candace Smith
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Brian To/WENN.com

Brian To/WENN.com

Actors seem so glamorous. People know your name, who you are dating, and what your next projects are going to be by the click of one button. You get to wear expensive clothing, travel around the world, and eat at the finest, most exclusive restaurants. By all appearances, actors who gain some manner of celebrity are also doing well financially. But that’s not always the case.

Somali actor Barkhad Abdi recently had his name has been splashed in magazines, newspapers and websites, not just because he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his role in Captain Phillips, but also because we found out in The New Yorker that he made $65,000 for the job. Not exactly the figure that you would imagine for a big-budget Hollywood film. The production budget for Captain Phillips was $55 million. Other jobs in which one can make $65K are a registered nurse, a personal financial adviser, a microbiologist, and an orthotist. And that was two years ago.

Now, Abdi lives in Hollywood, broke and struggling alongside scores of other actors who have not been nominated for any prestigious industry awards, much less, for an Oscar. Abdi’s story is a vital fiscal lesson for many who have ever thought about making their love for the arts into fulfilling, paying jobs. When you’re an actor just starting out, there will be months of making payments for headshots, classes, industry workshops, and other career-building duties. If you are lucky enough to have an agent and/or manager and get a paying gig, 10 percent will go to your agent(s), and 10 to 20 percent maximum to your manager. If you are even luckier to advance your career and become a member of SAG-AFTRA performer’s union, you will have to pay a membership initiation fee of $3,000 (which can be loaned), an annual base membership fee of $198, and 1.575 percent of all individual earnings under SAG or AFTRA contracts between $1-$500,000. Once you are a SAG-AFTRA member, you can earn a minimum rate of $490 to 609.50 per day, and if you are working on a weekly basis, $1,721.50 to $2,131.50 a week, versus non-union talent who earn much less.

Normally, when you move up to Oscar-, Emmy-, or Tony-nominated territory, there are also more people on an actor’s payroll: publicists, lawyers, makeup artists and stylists. Even while they may be gifted with the swankiest designer clothes, shoes, and jewelry, many times these are on loan, so they are expected to give it back.

True enough, once you get to high-profile status, you can command a king’s ransom for your participation in a movie. Sandra Bullock was reportedly paid $70 million for her role in Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity; a base of $20 million and then a smartly negotiated 15 percent cut of box office sales. Tom Hanks, who has one of the most glittering careers in show business today, took a pay cut for Captain Phillips, with rumors that he settled for $10 million.

Obviously, Abdi, being a Hollywood industry newcomer, cannot be compared to Tom Hanks, in terms of bankability. Captain Phillips is his first feature role, and, picked out of tons of people who came to a casting call, his is a true Cinderella story. But, now he’s in a precarious time of his new acting career where he has to think about next steps and longevity, so one day he too can command more money like Bullock and Hanks. Yes, even Oscar-nominated stars have to think about longevity. But Abdi also must realize that the pickings for being cast in another movie or even a TV show are slim when you consider the tons of people who are also in the running.

With any luck, and more sweat, we’ll see Abdi on screen again in the near future. He has already started his acting career with a bigger bang than most other actors could ever dream of. The question is whether this was lightning in a bottle or the beginning of a long career. If he can ultimately achieve not just the name recognition, but the A-list power of players like Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, Abdi can look back at this time of economic instability and laugh about it. At this point, like Abdi, we can only wait and hope that he does not become another Hollywood one-hit film wonder.

Fun In The Sun! Michael B. Jordan Spotted On Miami Beach With A Mystery Woman!

January 26th, 2014 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Credit: AKM-GSI

First, let’s point out how we’re in the middle of winter and battling freezing temperatures and constant snow in many states, but Michael B. Jordan and his lady friend are kicking it in Miami shirtless and in a bikini, respectively, down in Florida.

But I digress.

The Fruitvale Station and That Awkward Moment star was spotted this weekend in Miami with a young lady very close by the entire time. The two hit the beach for some sun and jet skiing.

"Michael B. Jordan pf"

AKM-GSI

Now ladies, I know that some of you have already claimed Michael as “yours” and he’s been saying that he’s single so don’t let these pictures deter you. Yes, she looks like she’s cute and she appears to have a great body and this is the first woman he’s been spotted with since he and his ex-girlfriend broke up, but what does that mean? I’ll tell you: not a thing! As far as we’re concerned, he’s still up for grabs.

Anyway, check out a couple more pictures of Michael and his “friend” as they enjoy that beautiful Miami weather and water.

"Michael B. Jordan pf"

AKM-GSI

 

"Michael B. Jordan pf"

AKM-GSI

Do Not Refer To Idris Elba As The Black Bond! The Actor Shuts Down Rumors Once And For All

January 4th, 2014 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Idris Elba

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He knows many of you want this to happen so bad, but do not expect to see Idris Elba as the Black Bond. As a matter of fact, don’t even use the term “Black Bond” when it comes to the idea of a black man playing the role.

“I’ve always detested the phrase ‘Black Bond.’ I just don’t understand it,” Elba told Kate Garraway on ITV’s Lorraine, a British show.

He continued:

“We don’t say ‘White Bond’, we just say “Bond” so it suddenly becomes a black man and he’s a “Black Bond” so I hate that phrase and it’s a rumour that’s gotten out of control basically but that’s all it is. There’s no truth in it whatsoever.”

The crazy thing is that according to The Daily Mail this all gogt started when Elba’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom co-star Naomie Harris said that she’d like to see him play the role of James Bond. Harris, who was in the last “Bond” film Skyfall alongside current “Bond” Daniel Craig, says her opinion spiraled into some mixed up “fact” and “now, nearly every time he does an interview, he gets asked about it.”

You know, I can definitely understand Idris Elba’s opinion about he, or any other black actor” being referred tot as the “Black Bond.” However, seeing as though there’s never been a black man to play the role, it goes without saying that it would be something that is a primary focus.  That’s kind of what happens when you become the first – or are just being considered for the role – of something.

In the meantime,if you see him in the street, don’t shout out, “Hey Driis, what’s up with you being the next Bond?” I mean, just leave it all alone and instead, just envision what he’d look like in one of those nice tailor made Bond suits (you know Idris can wear a suit like nobody’s business).

Legendary Actor Peter O’Toole Dead At Age 81

December 15th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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After having a career that many can only imagine, actor Peter O’Toole, the breakout star of the classic Lawrence of Arabia, died peacefully on Sunday at a hospital in London.

The actor has been ill for years with various ailments and became even more thin than his already natural slim build.  Although he was older, his face began to change drastically due not only to his sickness, but also years of hard drinking.

His daughter Kate O’Toole released a statement:

“His family are very appreciative and completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of real love and affection being expressed towards him, and to us, during this unhappy time. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts.”

In 2012, O’Toole officially retired from acting; he said he was grateful for all it had provided to him both emotionally and financially.

After his role in Lawrence of Arabia, O’Toole went on to do many other films including My Favorite Year and Venus. Besides his actual acting roles, he’s also known as the man who set the record for most Academy Award nominations (he had 8 noms) without every winning. In 2003, he accepted an honorary Oscar.

According to The Guardian, there were rumors that he was coming out of retirement for one more role. While it hasn’t been confirmed, it is believed that he did do the project and the film will be released next year.

Our prayers and condolences go out to his family during this hard time.

Nia Long To Co-Star In WEtv’s First Scripted Show!

December 14th, 2013 - By Drenna Armstrong
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PNP/WENN.com

It wasn’t too long ago when we questioned where Nia Long was and why she wasn’t working.  Well, all of a sudden, she seems to be pretty busy and it doesn’t look like she’s slowing down anytime soon.

According to Deadline.com, Long has signed on to star in WEtv’s new show, The Divide. The show is describe as a “legal thriller centers on District Attorney Adam Page (Damon Gupton), who uncovers new evidence that prompts the re-investigation of a sensational murder case.”

Long will play DA Page’s wife, Billie.

This could be really good for Nia Long. She has the chance to star in something brand new for the network: The Divide will be WE’s first drama and scripted show. As we know, they’re known for reality shows and reruns of old shows so if they promote this properly, it could have a huge following.

Nia has been pretty busy this year: she co-starred in eight episodes of House of Lies and of course, The Best Man Holiday was released in November to rave reviews. Next year, she’s one of the stars of Tyler Perry’s film, The Single Moms Club.

It’s exciting to see her career get that full second wind and I can’t wait to see her in the new show!

 

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