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June 2003
Faces of Tomorrow : Ones to Watch 2003

Faces of Tomorrow: Ones to Watch 2003

2003 has been an emergent year for Black films with more African-Americans in released films to date than there were for the whole of 2002. Breakthrough acting performances and skillful directing has led to the discovery of an expanding talent pool. While every actor certainly deserves their due, blackfilm.com has selected a few individuals who we feel will be the "faces of tomorrow". In no particular order, we present to you the ones to watch for in 2003:

1. Jerry Lamothe (Director)

      After winning several festival awards with his debut love story Amour Infinity, this brother garnered the attention of several talented actors and producers. Without the backing of any major studio, Jerry has attracted Mos Def, Isaiah Washington, Allen Payne, Terrence Howard, Wood Harris and Monica Calhoun to be in his next film From the Outside Looking In. Not only that, another film Jerry directed and is scheduled to come out later this year is Nora's Hair Salon, which stars Jennifer Lewis, Tamala Jones, Tatiana Ali, Bobby Brown, and Lil' Kim. On the video front, his hip-hop comedy film The Hu$tle, which stars Dr. Dre & Ed Lover, as well as rapper Drag On, and Ernest Thomas (What's Happening), will be coming out on DVD this year as well.

2. Meagan Good (Actress)

  It's interesting that this actress would make the list considering she's been on the screen since Eve's Bayou. But that was her teenage years. As an adult, she's already blazed the screen with performances in Biker Boyz and Deliver Us From Eva. Watch out for her next performance in Ride or Die, directed by Craig Ross Jr. (Bluehill Avenue). She's currently filming You Got Served with B2K and D.E.B.S with Jordana Brewster.

3. Kerry Washington (Actress)

  After making her film debut in Jim McKay's Our Song, this promising young talent "kept it real"in Save the Last Dance and nab an Indie Spirit Award nomination for her role as Nicy in Lift, directed by Demane Davis and Khari Streeter. In 2003, Kerry will be playing Meg Ryan's best friend in Against the Ropes and will star with Don Cheadle in The United States of Leland. She will also star with Ving Rhames in Sin and be featured with Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins in The Human Stain. Next year, Kerry will star with Jamie Foxx in Unchained Heart: The Ray Charles Story, which is currently filming.

4. Frankie G (Actor)

  If there was an award for "Rookie of the Year"in terms of acting, this guy would get it. Not only has he held his own amongst experienced talent in Confidence and The Italian Job, he definitely makes some noise in the film that won several festival awards in Manito. Later this year, Frankie G. will lock horns with Val Kilmer in Wonderland.

5. Eva Mendes (Actress)

  Eva has been fortunate enough to make the best out of small scenes. After playing the Denzel's Baby's Mama in Training Day, she matched wits with Mike Epps and Ice Cube in All About the Benjamins. Besides appearing in 2 Fast 2 Furious with Tyrese, Eva will later appear as Denzel Washington's wife in Out of Time, and with Antonio Banderas in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. To finish the year, Eva will star in the Farrelly Brothers (There's Something About Mary)'s next film, Stuck on You.

6. Neema Barnette (Director)

  Women in the industry face unique challenges, particularly when those women are African American. Quality acting parts are not easy to come by for sisters and moving into the coveted power-seat known as the director's chair is even more of a battlečeven for an industry vet with a distinguished career of screenwriting for top-rated television such as The Cosby Show. After winning the best film award at the 2002 Urbanworld Film Festival, Director Neema Barnette and her gritty tale of corruption and justice, Civil Brand, will be coming to the theaters shortly.

7. Michael Ealy (Actor)

 

Most films usually need a stud to bring in the ladies, and for some Michael was the man in last year's Barbershop. Capitalizing on the success of the film, Michael will next appear in 2 Fast 2 Furious with Tyrese, and S.W.A.T with LL Cool J. Later on, he will come back on the screen in Never Die Alone with DMX.


8. Anthony Mackie (Actor)

 

This Julliard-trained brother made his entrance in "the game"as Papa Doc in 8 Mile and was recently seen on Broadway with Whoopi Goldberg in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Watch for him as he next appears in Hollywood Homicide with Harrison Ford.


9. Nick Cannon (Actor)

 

Prior to starring in last year's hit Drumline, most adults hadn't seen Nick on his own show The Nick Cannon Show, which was geared for teenagers. Besides acting, this brother is doing the Will Smith thing and breaking into the music industry. His debut CD is well on its way with the single Your Pops Don't Like Me currently playing on the airwaves. Coming out this fall will be his next film will be Love Don't Cost a Thing, directed by Troy Beyer.


10. Jeff Byrd (Director)

 
  Jeff is a protégé of Spike Lee. After working with Lee on a number of his films, Byrd took his skills to direct hip-hop videos, television series, and commercials. His first short film Breakdown won first prize at the Acapulco Film Festival years ago. Currently playing on cable TV's SHOWTIME is his latest film, Jasper, Texas. It's his second film he's directed for the cable. The first was Seventeen Again.

11. Joy Bryant (Actress)

  She may have had a small role in last year's Antwone Fisher, but Joy is ready to challenge Sanaa Lathan, Regina King, and others for some leading roles. While taking a breather from modeling, Joy will next be seen opposite Mekhi Phifer in Honey. She's also preparing for her upcoming role in Gettin' the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass and Other Life Lessons, directed by Mario Van Peebles.

12. Troy Beyer (Director)

  This former Dynasty star has been in the Hollywood game for a minute but in different positions. As an actress, she starred in The Five Heartbeats with Robert Townsend. As a writer, she scripted B.A.P.S, which starred Halle Berry, and as a director, she did Let's Talk About Sex, which she also starred in. Coming out this year will be her next directorial film Love Don't Cost a Thing, a Warner Bros. film which stars Drumline star Nick Cannon.

13. Chiwetel Ejiofor (Actor)

 

Most folks usually don't go see foreign or small films because they don't play at a nearby theater, but if you need a reason to go, go because of this accomplished London actor. Already being hailed as a British Samuel L. Jackson, Chiwetel gives a captivating performance in Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things, which also stars Audrey Tattou. He will next be seen on TV in Twelfth Night opposite Parminder Nagra of Bend It Like Beckham.


14. Melvin James (Director)

  A few years ago, Melvin directed the boxing sensation Honeybee, which was featured in several festivals and now he's back with a new film about a battle of sexes. Making its debut at the American Black Film Festival this year and coming to theaters in the Fall will be A Miami Tail, which stars rap singer Trina in her film debut. Melvin's next film will be Feminine Wiles, which is currently in development.

15. Clark Johnson (Director)

  For a number of years Johnson was known for his role as Meldrick Lewis on the TV series Homicide: Life On The Streets. Since the series ended, Clark has focused more on the directorial side. Besides directing the pilot for the TV series The Shield and an episode of HBO's The Wire, his last film, Boycott was a hit on HBO and starred Jeffrey Wright. His latest film will be S.W.A.T, his theatrical debut and stars Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, and Colin Farrell. Welcome to the big leagues!

16. Damon Dash (Director/ Writer/ Producer)

  Conquering the music world is not enough for money-making businessman; he wants a piece of the film industry. After producing and being featured in Backstage, Dash went on to produce last year's State Property and Paid in Full. He also co-wrote and co-directed the recently DVD release film Paper Soldiers. On his own, his first directorial film Death of a Dynasty recently made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Dash will executive produce his next film The Woodsman, which is currently shooting and stars Kevin Bacon, Benjamin Bratt, Eve, and David Alan Grier.

17. John Ridley (Screenwriter)

  Having already received success for writing Three Kings and U-Turn and creating the animated series that became a movie with Undercover Brother, Ridley switch his game and entered the TV world to create, produce and direct several episodes of UPN's Platinum. Recently released on DVD was his animated film Those Who Walk In Darkness, which features the voice of Lil' Kim and was based on his book of the same name. His next projects includes writing the remake to Foxy Brown, which will star Halle Berry and directing/ writing Let Me Take You Down, scheduled for a 2004 release.

18. Cheryl Dunye (Director)

 

Years ago she won numerous acclaim for her film Watermelon Woman and took a break to concentrate on her next project. That project would come years later with the HBO well-received film Stranger Inside. In 2003 watch for her latest film, My Baby's Mama, to be released by Miramax and star Anthony Anderson, Eddie Griffin, and Method Man.


19. Jean Claude LaMarre (Actor/ Director/ Writer/ Producer)

 
  This brother is a "Jack-Of-All-Trades"in the Hollywood industry as he has acted in Malcolm X, Fresh, and Dead Presidents. Jean Claude has produced and written Higher Ed and Go for Broke. For his latest film and premiering at the American Black Film Festival, this brother wore four hats as Guns & Roses credits him as the director, writer, producer, and actor. The film stars LisaRaye, Monica Calhoun, Bobby Brown, Stacey Dash, and Lil'Kim. His next project will be producing Nora's Hair Salon for Director Jerry Lamothe. LaMarre has also inked a deal with Columbia Pictures for the hip-hop comedy Blazin' Four, developed and written by LaMarre for the highly successful Kings of Comedy; Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric The Entertainer, and Bernie Mac.

SPECIAL MENTION:

Half the Cast of THE WIRE (Actors)

 
 

The Law: Lance Reddick, Sonja Sohn, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, Seth Gilliam, Frankie R. Faison

The Barksdale Crew & Surrounding Foes: Wood Harris, Idris Elba, Larry Gilliard Jr., J.D Williams, Tray Chaney, Hassan Johnson, Andre Royo, & Michael K. Williams

It would be difficult to single out one or two people from such an acclaimed show but these individuals are truly amazing. It doesn't matter if one person appears in more scenes than the other. When that person has a scene, they certainly make the most of it. Kudos to HBO for casting a well-rounded group that will definitely make their mark this year. Just look at what the cast of The Sopranos have done for themselves.

 

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