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February 2007


By Wilson Morales


Distributor: Double 7 Film / Palm-Star Entertainment / Griot Pictures Entertainment / CodeBlack Entertainment

Director: Pete Chatmon
Producers: Pete Chatmon, Lynn Appelle, Kevin Scott Frakes
Screenwriter: Pete Chatmon
Cast: Zoe Saldana, Hill Harper, Dorian Missick, Frankie Faison, William Sadler, Tonya Pinkins, Keith Nobbs, Eva Pigford, Sean Nelson, Novella Nelson, Pete Chatmon

Rated R for language
Running Time: 97 minutes





All actors struggle with their craft whether they have made it to the top of the game or not. For African Americans, getting a part in a film is not only a big deal but when race is a factor, it complicates matters down the road. In Pete Chatmon’s surprising comedic and winning film, “Premium”, he explores in the intricacies that Black actors go through the life of one guy while injecting some romance that doesn’t end up as predictable as one may think.

Reginald “Cool” Coolidge (Missick) is a 28 year-old actor still struggling to land a part anywhere while living at home with his mom (Pinkins) and maintaining a low-end paying job at a gas station run by his mother’s current boyfriend (Faison). For the parts he’s getting callbacks on, Cool has to “act” black for the casting crew. To make matters worse, on his worst day, he runs into his ex-fiancé, Charli (Saldana), who informs him that she’s back in town for her upcoming wedding to a really nice lawyer (Harper). When his mother informs him that she will moving to another town after catering Charli, Cool has it in his mind to convince Charli that he’s her one true love while recognizing his own mistakes as a man and an actor.

Initially starting off in the form of Robert Townsend’s classic film, “Hollywood Shuffle”, with the tryouts and stereo-typically responses, Chatmon’s film nearly falls in the realm of goofiness until the second act really picks up. Through the efforts of Missick’s performance, which goes from comedic to dramatic, Chatmon takes the film to another level in a 360 turn as he switches gears and lets the romantic aspects guide the film to a genuine resolution. Many messages are found within the subtext when it comes to the acting part of the business and on the surface, there are probably many who can relate with what Cool has gone through as a struggling actor not getting parts due to either race or personality. Missick and Saldana really do show chemistry on the screen through their emotional scenes, while Harper does his best not to be the third wheel. Chatmon’s ability to inject humor while addressing some serious issues with the film business and romantic relationships add to his talent and makes “Premium” worth seeing.