Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis are reportedly being pursued for the project as well. Apparently they want to start production fairly soon, so we should know who the rest of the cast is in the next few weeks.
I’m excited about this movie, I’m a space nerd who has watched Apollo 13 an embarrassing number of times and owns the complete DVD set of From Earth to the Moon. Yeah, I’m hard core. Aside from the all-star cast we already know, there is an all-start cast behind the camera. Ted Melfi (St Vincent) is set to direct. Donna Gigliotti (Shakespeare In Love, Silver Linings Playbook) will produce and Allison Schroeder (Pineapple Express, Shipping Julia) penned the screenplay.
If you ever watched the movie Apollo 13, and I have many times, you would think that back then NASA was all nerdy white guys in skinny black ties. Turns out that’s not quite the case, there was a trio of brilliant Black women mathematicians in the back room performing critical calculations in the age before computers. Their mad math skills influenced every major space program from Mercury through the Shuttle.
The women were Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson and now we get a movie about them. based on the book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly. The movie, titled Hidden Figures, will star none other than Taraji P Henson as Katherine Johnson.
John Glenn requested that she personally recheck the calculations made by the new electronic computers before his flight aboard Friendship 7 – the mission on which he became the first American to orbit the Earth.
Isn’t that the coolest thing?
Hidden Figures is stated for release Jan. 13, 2017 to coincide with Dr. Martin Luther King day.
Rosario Dawson is turning into quite the comic book hero these days. She plays Night Nurse/Claire Temple in Netflix’s Daredevil. She will reprise the role in Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. She voiced Wonder Woman in Justice League:Throne of Atlantis. She played Gail in Sin City.
Now she is picking up another comic book role, Batgirl in The LEGO Batman Movie. According to to THR, she will join Will Arnett as Batman, and Michael Cera as Robin, and Zack Galifanakis as The Joker. The movie is set for release on February 10, 2017.
Lupita Nyong’o is currently in talks to star in Intelligent Life. and SciFi thriller for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Rumor has it, according to The Hollywood Reporter, that Ava DuVernay will be offered the director’s chair.
The movie is about a UN worker in the department that would represent mankind in the event of alien contact. The worker falls in love with a mysterious woman – the part Lupita is currently interested in – who turns out to be an alien.
Also, Ava is apparently on the short list of directors being considered for Disney’s adaption of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. Again I don’t know the timing yet for these projects, so she may have conflicts to work out before she can sign on the dotted line. I think a lot will depend on which projects fit best with Ava’s own creative vision; remember she did turn down the Black Panther directing gig that eventually went to Creed‘s Ryan Coogler because of creative differences. Whatever her choices are, I’m sure she will slay it.
In the midst of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Screen Actor’s Guild weighted in with their choices and POC came out out overwhelmingly on top in just about every category where they were nominated.
Idris Elba, who couldn’t even get a nomination for an Oscar, (but Sylvester Stallone could, go figure) took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor in a movie for Beasts of No Nation. He also scored as Lead Actor in a Drama for Luther. Take that Oscar voters!
Viola Davis repeated her SAG win from last year for Lead Actress in a Drama for How to Get Away with Murder. I repeat, this is win #2 for her. And that is after she won the Emmy.
Uzo Aduba also repeated her win from last year for Lead Actress in a Comedy for Orange is the New Black. She snagged a second award of the night when Orange is the New Black snared the Comedy Ensemble award. As you will recall, she also won the Emmy for this role
Rounding out the stellar evening for POC, Queen Latifah won for Lead Actress in a Limited Series or special for Bessie. She was also nominated for the Emmy, but lost to Frances McDormand,
So whenever the lack of color in Oscar nominees is brought up, inevitably some douche makes the comment that that maybe the POC just aren’t good enough. Note that the SAG awards are voted on solely by members of the Screen Actors Guild, people who know this craft and know wht ti takes to succeed. They chose to hand their highest awards to Viola and Uzo for the second year in a row, and they chose Idris for two very different roles. All of these people have been nominated for numerous awards and won. POC are plenty good enough, these were not pity wins.
Every time I look up, Amandla Stenberg is doing something amazing. She has now made her second short film where she acted as director. producer, casting director, camera operator and editor, called Blue Girls Burn Fast. Does this kid ever sit still?
The film is a coming of age story that follows Andy, a world weary teen living ins foster care. Leeza Lester stars as Andy, while Julia Rocha, Kelley Smith Wait, Duke Nicholson, and Kyleigh Booker round out the cast.
Amandla posted two versions, a short and a longer version. I’ve embedded the longer version here. Enjoy!
Hoping to lead by example, Jane the Virgin‘s Gina Rodriguez has launched Movement Mondays in order to highlight and increase the visibility of Latino actors and actresses. Her first post, featuring Oscar Isaac, can be seen on her Instagram right now.
With all this Oscar Talk and lack of diversity I decided to start a movement and speak from the perspective of a Latina American who desires to see more Latinos on screen. There are 55 million Latinos in this country and although we all come from various backgrounds our unity can make a movie explode at the box office or a tv show soar to the highest viewers possible. The better these projects do financially, the more money they will spend on putting Latinos In blockbuster films, as leads in tv shows Etc. My solution is this, support is needed. Right now there isn’t one Latino that can Greenlight a movie. That means no studio will put their money behind a Latino face as a lead of a movie because they don’t believe we can make their money back. I am told time and time again “Latinos dont watch Latino Movies. Latinos don’t support each other” and sadly that is true. I’m not saying go and see a movie you don’t like to blind support, im saying if you want to see us represented on film and tv, if you want to see Latinos nominated for Oscars, we NEED to support one another. The industry sees money, the excuse can’t just be racism. We can make a difference in a very powerful way if we unite our support as one Latino community.
She will be featuring a different artist each Monday and she is asking her followers to do the same. Keep an eye on her Instagram for more.
I think she raises a valid point, Hollywood is all about the $$$ and if they see that there is money that can be made, they are more likely to go after that market like a dog after a bone.
I have to admit I cringe every time I see the title Birth of a Nation, since I am familiar with the original 1915 movie that shares the title. The 1915 movie is one of the most racist flicks ever placed on film. Set in the South after the Civil War, the KKK are the good guys and the black people are all pure savages. White actors wear black face. The history book isn’t just kicked to the curb, it’s shredded, feed to the dog and whatever the dog threw up is kicked to the curb. It persists because unfortunately it also pioneered so many film techniques still in use today. As much as we would love for this movie to be forgotten, it never will be. Ugh.
So when I saw that Birth of a Nation was HUGE at Sundance, I flinched, but clicked on the link anyway. OK, maybe we will never be rid of the racist 1915 movie, but it appears this new film by Nate Parker, co-starring Gabrielle Union and Aja Naomi King, will go a long ways towards trashing the memory of the previous travesty. This movie is 180 degrees from the previous film. This Birth of a Nation follows Nat Turner as he leads a slave revolt in 1831. Here the black men are the heroes and the white slave owners are the savages.
This film was a labor of love for Nate Parker, it took him 7 years to get the film made, but he is getting paid back for it many times over. The film was greeted at it’s premiere with a standing ovation that lasted throughout the entire closing credits. It’s not just getting positive reviews and lots of buzz, it just sold for a record 17.5 million to Fox Searchlight. Not bad for a film that was made for a mere $10 million. Take that #OscarsSoWhite!
The Hollywood Reporter talked with the cast about the film, Nat Turner, and what it was like to work for first time director Parker. Here is the video.
Time to warm up that #OscarsSoWhite hashtag y’all, the Academy has announced their 2016 nominations and they are a whiter shade of pale.
Not one POC made the cut in the acting categories. No Will Smith, no Micheal B Jordan, no Idris Elba. In the directing category Alejandro G. Iñárritu got a nod for helming the otherwise very white The Revenant but Ryan Coogler’s work on Creed was ignored.
The only good surprise for POC was that Straight Outta Compton got a nod for Best Original Screenplay, but that’s pretty slim.
I’ll give you all a few minutes to wrap your head around this.
Surprisingly, several names have already attached themselves to the project. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron are in along with Kelly Rohrbach, who will be filling Pamela Anderson’s rather busty swimsuit. Now it looks like Priyanka Chopra may be joining them, as the film’s villain. She’s currently in talks to jump on board, nothing is set in stone yet.
Someone please send her the Baywatch DVD set so she knows what she is getting into…