All Articles Tagged "Viola Davis"

Actor Keith Robinson Cast In James Brown Biopic, ‘Get On Up’

November 7th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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James Brown

Source: WENN

Things really seem to be coming together for the long-awaited James Brown biopic, Get On Up. Just last week we told you that singer-turned-actress Jill Scott has been cast to play The Godfather Of Soul’s wife. We’ve just learned that Dreamgirls actor Keith Robinson has also been added to the all-star cast.

According to Shadow and Act, the 38-year-old actor will be playing the role of Baby Roy, an original member of James Brown’s band. Keith will be in the company of some of Hollywood’s most talented actors and actresses. If you recall, 42 actor Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the role of Brown. The Help actresses Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis have also been cast to play the late singer’s aunt and mother, respectively.

Keith has already taken to Twitter to thank everyone for their support and express his excitement regarding his new role.

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 3.34.21 AM

We’re pretty excited to see who else will be added to the all-star lineup.

Jill Scott Cast To Play Wife Of James Brown In Upcoming Biopic

November 1st, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Jill Scott

Source: WENN

Reason 1,000,001 why we love Jill Scott: she acts just as well as she sings.

Not many artists successfully make the music-to-movies transition, but Jill Scott certainly has. Just one month after her latest theater film, Baggage Claim, hit theaters, the über talented Philadelphia native has snatched up yet another movie role. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ms. Scott has been cast to play one of James Brown’s wives, in the highly anticipated biopic, Get On Up!

Though Jill seems to have mastered both acting and singing, a few months back she confessed to Shadow and Act that it’s pretty difficult to balance the two.

“Balancing is hard. I’ve lost roles that I really wanted because I had set up a tour.  I cancelled tours to do roles before. But I have to find the time to make that up to my audience. I made a commitment to them. Singing and acting suit me. I made a vow to myself, to do everything that I can do with this life that I have, and I have to find the time to do this. Sometimes I need to be an actress.  Sometimes I don’t need to be Jill. However, everyone is always looking for the Jill in everything.  People say that they like the characters that they believe that I am. But, I don’t as much.  I like the characters that I believe that I am not. Like my role on Law and Order. That character unnerved people. And I loved every second of it. I want to continue growing as an actress. There are ways that I can reach quicker, or deeper, with acting,” she said.

Back in August we told you that 42 actor Chadwick Boseman has been cast to play the role of James. And just last month we delivered the wonderful news that The Help actresses Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis will also be reuniting on the set to create some more of that on-screen magic. In case you missed it, Viola will be playing James’ mother, Susie Brown. Octavia will be playing the late singer’s aunt, Anne Tunney aka Aunt Honey.

As previously reported, Get On Up is scheduled to hit theaters October 17, 2014. This sounds like such an amazing line-up. We will continue to keep you posted as more celebrities are added to this all-star cast.

Octavia Spencer And Viola Davis To Reunite For James Brown Biopic, ‘Get On Up’

October 1st, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Over the summer when we told you that 42 actor Chadwick Boseman had been cast to play legendary father of funk, James Brown, we also told you that the film’s director, Tate Taylor, was looking to reunite The Help actresses Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis. We’re happy to report that both ladies have officially been cast for the upcoming film!

According to Deadline, Viola will be playing James Brown’s mother, Susie Brown, who gave birth to the musical icon at just 16 years old and left him to live with relatives.  Octavia will be playing the late singer’s aunt, Anne Tunney aka Aunt Honey, who was reportedly a very important and formative figure in James’ life. Chatter regarding True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis being added to the cast is still circulating, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

Filming for the long-awaited movie begins in November in Mississippi and it’s already scheduled to hit theaters October 17, 2014. It’s been a long time coming for this biographical film, which was originally supposed to be written and directed by Spike Lee. Eddie Murphy, who at one point was cast to play James, praised Spike’s script for the film.

“That’s a great, great piece. I wish it could come together. It has everything and his story is incredible. Imagine how incredible Ray Charles’ story was — and he’s at the piano. James is doing splits and running and jump off the wall. Angel dust. Shooting out tires. James’ sh** is bananas,” Eddie told Black Tree TV.

Somewhere along the line, Spike was replaced by Tate. Either way, we’re glad this project is finally happening!

Sneak Peek: Viola Davis Blows Movie-Goers Away In New Film, “Prisoners”

September 23rd, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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In the October issue of Essence, Viola Davis opened up about motherhood, beauty, and how she plans to shift gears in her acting portfolio. Knowing how important re-branding is, Davis plans not to be typecast into certain roles.

Therefore,  dedicated to her own growth, our favorite beauty is back on the big screen with a movie sure to make you change how you view of her. “Prisoners,” a thriller, is centered on two missing girls who were abducted from their neighborhood on Thanksgiving Day. The film’s high points rely on suspicion and anticipation,  making you question if following morals are necessary when your family is endangered.

According to David Denby from The New Yorker:

“Prisoners,” despite its gathering anxiety, has some of the pleasures of ordinary thrillers. But Villeneuve, who previously directed “Incendies,” does volatile scenes without exaggeration; parts of the movie are exceedingly violent, though the violence isn’t “fun”—it makes you wince. (Horror-film fans will not like this picture; some of it is actually horrifying.) Villeneuve throws us into a complicated skein of abductions going back years without losing the urgency of the present. “Prisoners” is a challenge: you have to decide who’s right and who’s wrong at every turn, and, when it’s over, ambiguity, rather than the satisfactions of harmony, reigns. Life stays out of joint. This movie suggests that it’s never really been any other way.”

From the preview, Viola Davis appears to deliver a riveting performance that will make you expect even more from the Academy Award nominee in future films.

Below is the trailer for “Prisoners” Will you head to theaters to watch it?

Terrence Howard, Viola Davis Film ‘Prisoners’ Has A Surprise Win At The Weekend Box Office

September 23rd, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Terrence Howard & Viola Davis at the LA premiere of "Prisoners." FayesVision/

Terrence Howard & Viola Davis at the LA premiere of “Prisoners.” FayesVision/

Prisoners, a crime thriller starring Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, and Maria Bello as two sets of parents who are searching for their missing daughters, won the box office this weekend with $21.4 million, beating out last week’s top movie Insidious Chapter 2, which pulled in $14.5 million in its second week. Entertainment Weekly calls the box office win a “surprise” because it doesn’t fit the mold of the top movies of recent weeks; it’s a drama that doesn’t have the CGI, the scares, or the flash of many other box office winners.

For Hugh Jackman, it continues a streak that includes Les Miserables and the X-Men films. And Jake Gyllenhaal, who could use a box office win, is getting good buzz for his performance. But for Howard, it must be a particularly sweet reprieve from the media attention he’s been getting lately, focused on the personal problems he’s been having with his wife.

For more on Davis and her new role, click here.

Bloomberg notes that September is normally a very weak month for the box office. But it’s also the time when audiences are seeking more mature movies as well. It also helps that reviews for the movie have been largely positive.

The film is building on positive buzz from the recent Venice and Toronto Film Festivals.

Viola Davis Talks Beauty And Growing Up With White Kids Calling Her Ugly In Essence

September 5th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Source: Essence Magazine

Source: Essence Magazine


The beautiful Viola Davis is on the cover of Essence Magazine’s October issue!

Essence‘s editor-in-chief Vanessa K. Bush  interviewed Davis, who will be appearing in a new film called Prisoners on September 20. During their intimate conversation, they spoke on all things hair, beauty and motherhood- a role which Davis has recently taken on and is mastering. At 48 years old, Viola Davis describes simultaneously how precarious and joyful parenthood  can be, saying parenting is:

“five hundred million joys and a hundred million heartbreaks every single day.”

During the interview Davis  reflects on her  relationship with her mother, who she says did not help nurture her self-esteem:

“My image of myself {as a youth] was in the mouths of young White kids calling me…ugly…and then going home to a mother who did not fully embrace her own beauty.”

By  identifying   the flaws of  her childhood relationship with her mother, Viola Davis holds herself accountable to a particular standard while raising her two-year old adopted daughter, Genesis. The most important lesson she wants to instill in Genesis’s life is to embrace her hair.

“There’s not one woman in America who does not care about her hair. But we give it way too much value. We deprive ourselves of things, we use it to destroy each other, we’ll look at a child and judge a mother and her sense of motherhood by the way the child’s hair looks. I am not going to traumatize my child about her hair. I want her to love her hair.”

In Essence’s  full interview, Viola Davis discusses how fans suggests what types of roles and movies she should audition for, what keeps her  humble while her success continues to grow and how she met her soulmate.

The October edition of Essence is out on newsstands now. Get your copy!


Chadwick Boseman Cast To Play James Brown In Biopic, Guess Who Else Is Up For Parts

August 27th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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James Brown Biopic

Source: WENN


The James Brown biopic is happening and Universal Pictures has found the man they want to play the “Godfather of Soul.” According to Deadline, Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played Jackie Robinson in “42,” will be taking on the lead role in this film.

The biopic is to be directed by “The Help’s” Tate Taylor, so it should be no surprise that Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer’s names are being thrown into the mix for this movie as well. According to The Wrap, Taylor wants to reunite the Academy Award nominees along with Nelsan Ellis, who played Henry the Waiter in “The Help,” in supporting roles for the biopic.

Though details are slim on this long-overdue project, The Wrap did mention that in the biopic, “Boseman will portray Brown over a period of several decades, from his disadvantaged youth to his status as a bonafide music icon.” Much of the filming is to take place in Mississippi, but there’s no word yet on who else might show up in the flick as of now. The Wrap notes that so far no offers have been made yet to “The Help” trio and their representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

What do you think about Chadwick Boseman portraying James Brown?


Give Their Regards To Broadway: Celebs Who Started In Theater

July 25th, 2013 - By Ashley Page
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

Celebs come from all walks of life. Some are born into stardom because of their celebrity parents, while others work hard to get their names known in the business. One of the ways a lot of actors get their big break is by singing and dancing on Broadway. If it weren’t for these famous faces giving their regards to Broadway way back when, we may have never seen them on the big screen.

Why BET’s ‘Being Mary Jane’ Is A Win For Women Of Color

July 9th, 2013 - By La Truly
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The night of the premiere, I decided not to watch Being Mary Jane. I saw the hash tag all up and through my Twitter timeline with all sorts of comments as people followed the storyline. I didn’t want other opinions clouding my thoughts as I watched. So, I waited a day, found the show online, and watched in solitude.

The original movie-turned-show chronicles the life of Gabrielle Union’s character, Mary Jane Paul. She’s a largely successful television news anchor who is gorgeous, smart, and wealthy, but who is quite unlucky in love and unfortunately is the sole breadwinner for her entire family.

I watched with baited breath praying that the acting would not suck – it did not. Neither was the storyline dull or unrealistic. In fact, it was so realistic, I found myself laughing throughout, remembering similar instances in my own life. I enjoyed it from the opening post-it note to the ending booty call, because although it might not be a squeaky clean portrayal of a black woman – it’s an honest one.

I can fully appreciate Mary Jane for the same reasons I appreciate Kerry Washington’s portrayal of Olivia Pope in Scandal - the unmitigated honesty. The typewritten disclaimer at the beginning informed viewers that the show isn’t trying to account for the lives of every black woman everywhere…just one. The show doesn’t seek to lump all black women into one group of  romantically challenged workaholics, it just lets us follow one woman who is trying to navigate that space in her life. A life full of choices to be made. Sometimes she gets them right, and sometimes she gets them wrong. You know, like a human being?

I saw glimpses of myself or people I know throughout the storyline. Who hasn’t gone back to the man who is no good for them but feels so good to them? Who hasn’t fought for a cause they truly believe in on their job only to be shot down? Who hasn’t flooded themselves with messages of affirmation and encouragement? Who hasn’t tidied their whole house and gotten “effortlessly” sexified in a matter of minutes before inviting their boo inside? And yes, who hasn’t employed the quick “squat-and-wash” method of washing up before an impromptu hot date?

I screamed when Mary Jane was Facebook chatting with her ex. More than once I have started typing, then rethought it and deleted, started again, then deleted it again only to end up with coy one or two-word answers – trying to tailor my responses to get the responses I wanted from a guy – whether via Facebook chat or text message.

My point is – I wasn’t mad at the creators of the show for displaying a truth that many of us won’t admit to living. I was thankful, in a way, for being shown that I’m not the only one who wrestles with some of these issues.

While people have a right to dislike any work of art they choose, I noticed that most of the criticism of Mary Jane (which was luckily not a lot) stemmed from a belief that it showed black women in a poor light. It’s the same mentality that met Viola Davis when she decided to play Abilene in The Help. It’s the mentality that black actresses are not allowed to show the whole truth. Just the pieces that sparkle and smell clean. If the image isn’t 98.7 percent positive, we get uncomfortable.

My response? We have got to get over the fear of telling the truth about ourselves individually and collectively. One person’s truth doesn’t necessarily blanket a whole race. And if art reflects life then for goodness’ sake, allow it to. I’d like to take for granted that most people are smart enough to watch television without coming away with all-encompassing thoughts about an entire group of people from ONE television show. While I love watching Scandal, I believe that anyone who draws the conclusion from the show that all black women are looking to be mistresses to white men are incredibly unintelligent human beings with no real right to voice their opinions. Just saying.

Being Mary Jane seems to be a story of trajectory framed in a way that many women of color will be able to appreciate. And, hey, it debuted with four million viewers so I think that signifies a win with some longevity. There are layers in it and the character as there are in our everyday lives and I’m excited to see what is revealed throughout Mary Jane’s journey.

What Did You Think? Oprah’s Next Chapter Tackled Mean Girls And Mixed Feelings About Skin Tone

June 24th, 2013 - By La Truly
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black women in hollywood

Last night, Alfre Woodard, Gabrielle Union, Phylicia Rashad and Viola Davis sat with Oprah Winfrey to discuss the ins and outs and ups and downs of navigating Hollywood as women of color on Oprah’s Next Chapter.

With such an array of talents and accolades  in one room it was most intriguing to watch the discussion of everything from how inconsistent work can be, to leaving within their means in such a volatile industry, to supporting fellow Black actresses.

Gabrielle Union, wo was essentially Oprah’s reason for this particular installment of Next Chapter, revealed quite a bit about her internal struggle with her mean girl demons and expounded upon the jaw-dropping-ly honest speech she gave during an ESSENCE luncheon earlier this year. When receiving the Fierce and Fabulous award, Union recounted how she had been only pretending to be fierce and fabulous for much of her life. She uncovered how she had at one point torn others down to feel better about herself.

“I had to really examine all of the choices I’ve made as an adult and what I like and don’t like,” she said. “And there was a lot I didn’t like. So from that point in like, my early thirties, I started really living my truth and my words matched my actions.”

An always timely message for women of color, and actually just women in general, as the “crabs in a barrel” mentality is one that seems to pervade in many parts of our lives, as if we all can’t succeed and shine together.

It was interesting to see the reactions of the older women because it was clear that they came up in a different era entirely, one where fierce support of each other reigned supreme. The differences were very evident as Viola Davis spoke of refusing to apologize for herself and of being “pathological about being supportive. To anybody.” She also spoke of how Black writers in Hollywood seem to only want to write characters that are not flawed, or show the ugly side of humanity because they are afraid of how they will appear to others.

Phylicia Rashad, in all her regal elegance, gave insight into the truth of The Cosby Show, remembering how many believed it was not a realistic portrayal of Black America at the time, when it absolutely was, in fact.

“I grew up in Houston, Texas in the third ward and it was very realistic. And it wasn’t just realistic in Houston, Texas – it was realistic in Charlotte, North Carolina, in Atlanta, in New York, in Richmond, in Hampton… It was realistic in a lot of places…I guess it just depends on (who you know) and what you know. People will always have something to complain about. [It goes back to] knowing your life and who and what you are. You can stand in that and it doesn’t really matter.”

The discussion covered a range of topics including light skin v. dark skin which segued perfectly into the “Dark Girls” documentary that followed. Twitter rang out, praising the OWN Network for sitting these beautifully talented women down to discuss their truths and change.

Check out videos from last night’s discussion. What did you think?

Alfre Woodard on the Fierce Competition Among Black Actresses

Award-winning actress Alfre Woodard has been working in Hollywood for more than three decades. For years, she says, the mention of another African-American actress’s name would spark negativity and, oftentimes, the b-word from her managers and agents. Watch as Alfre shares a revelation she had about the women she was competing against.