September 1, 2014
Currently airing on Adult Swim TV is their latest series, Black Jesus, created by Peabody award-winning creator Aaron McGruder (“The Boondocks,” “Red Tails”) and Mike Clattenburg (“Trailer Park Boys”). The half-hour, live-action scripted comedy series finds Jesus living in present day Compton, CA on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers.
The series stars newcomer Gerald “Slink” Johnson as “Black Jesus.” The series also stars Charlie Murphy, Corey Holcomb, John Witherspoon, Kali Hawk, Andra Fuller, Antwon Tanner, Andrew Bachelor, Angela Gibbs, and Valenzia Algarin.
For Hawk, who plays Maggie, the New York native gets to have another character that people will appreciate and be fond of. Best known for her roles in Couples Retreat, Bridesmaids, and the Fox comedy series, New Girl, Hawk was last seen opposite Kerry Washington in the 2013 comedy Peeples.
Coming up is a role with Queen Latifah in November Rule as well as The Bounce Back with Shemar Moore.
Blackfilm.com recently spoke with Hawk about her role on Black Jesus and what attracted her to the series.
How would you describe Maggie?
Kali Hawk: Maggie is the main female friend to Black Jesus, similar to Mary Magdalene and her relationship to Jesus. She’s often referred to being a prostitute but those who have read the Bible know that it’s not true. My character is a friend and confidante to Jesus and the only girl in his crazy crew.
The series is consider controversial in some circles. What was the attraction to doing the series?
KH: Exactly that. I knew that it will get people talking about something that we should have more conversations about. Normally, you hear that you should avoid religion or politics. You certainly don’t want to bring those up in a social setting, but since the show has been announced, I’ve had more conversations with young people about Jesus and his teachings than about what color he was or whether he was arrogant or super sensitive or any of those things they wanted Jesus to be. Kids have been interested in really the life of Jesus and the Bible itself. I hadn’t done any projects that opened up those spiritual conversations and I think that is something that people are looking for, and luckily our show opens that door in a fun and interesting, entertaining way that’s also very real. That’s what appealed me to the show.
In working with Aaron McGruder, what did he want you to bring to Mary?
KH: When I thought about Jesus living in the present-day in Compton, I assumed it would be an urban situation, so I brought that to the table read. He came over and said, “How about if you do it in your normal voice?” I thought that was an interesting choice. I think what he really liked was the contrast so it has the viewer asking “What is Maggie doing hanging out with these guys?” Why is she here? She seems like a fish out of water and he liked that. For me, the show is an all-male cast. Angela Gibbs appears here and there but for the most part it’s Jesus and his crew. It’s just all dudes and me, so I did feel very much like a fish out of water and I did feel I needed to not just man-up but there is a bravado that you have to adopt in order to swim and not sink in that sort of situation. Much like Maggie I had to figure out how to hold my own with these guys. There are lovely guys, but there’s a lot of testosterone and Maggie deals with it gracefully.
How was it working with this cast?
KH: I feel like it was these people who inspired me to want to pursue a career in film and television.I remember having a conversation with John Witherspoon about that amazing moment in “Boomerang” when he has the mushroom jacket and the mushroom belt. When you think about that movie, you can not think about that part. That was something that he improvised in the film. He found comedy in the fashion. He doesn’t realized how me as a kid watching that movie influenced me and the sort of “outside the box” choices I would make as an actor. Even choosing that career of an actor is an off-the-beat path. I felt that it was exciting and colorful because of the work that John did in that movie and he doesn’t know that; but luckily years later I get to tell him that because I get to work with him. The same with Charlie Murphy. I used to watch “CB4″ all the time. I love his character in that movie. I had the biggest crush on him from that film and I got to embarrass him by telling him that while working on “Black Jesus.” Some kids have written me online that I look like MC Gusto.
Having gain exposure on film through “Couples Retreat” and on TV through “New Girl,” do you feel you found your calling with “Black Jesus?”
KH: I feel that people recognized the characters I play more than me as a person. Even online. I respond to lots of people on instagram and twitter. When they write to me, they address me as Trudy from Couples Retreat or Shelby from New Girl or even Kahlua from Bridesmaids. Either they identified with those characters or loved them. So, it was definitely something that I was going after when I wanted to pursue the career of being an actor. I wanted to be in projects that people would love for a long time and play interesting characters that people could befriend in a way. Characters that seem corky but always lovable. That’s what really cool about the Black Jesus character. No matter how much controversy the concept raised when folks heard about it, you can’t get passed the smile that Slink Johnson has as Black Jesus. He brings a certain energy that no matter how long Black Jesus lasts, people will remember that show. I just wanted to be part of projects like that.
As challenging as it is to get any role, what sort of roles you go after?
KH: I think I just pick stuff that I like. It’s almost like when you’re running a race. You know that there are people on the other sides of you, but you’re focus is on the finish line. You’re just running your own race. I don’t really think about how many roles there are. What’s happening politically in terms of the acting world, I don’t really think about it. I think people may say that I should think about it more, but I think that’s helped me. That kind of laser-like focus. I know I want to work with people I like and admire and on quality projects that will stand the test of time and will be well regarded in the hearts of people that watch them. That’s what I’m going for. It’s almost been a spiritual journey because people tell you how hard a career in entertainment is supposed to be. I don’t think it’s harder than anything else. You have to have a tremendous amount of faith and belief in yourself that what you want to do is possible. Often times, it’s not the concept or the project itself, it’s the other people who have chosen to do it. Can I learn things from those people and am I inspired by those people? That’s where it begins for me.
What are some of the projects you have coming up?
KH: I have “November Rule,” Queen Latifah’s film with Macy Gray, Tatiana Ali, La La Anthony and a lot of cool people as DJ Qualls. I am the lead character’s sister who studied puppeteering in college and didn’t find success in that career path, so she ends up moving back home. She’s there with the puppets and figuring what to do with her life. Obviously, that’s a chance for wild comedy, so I jumped at it.
Then there’s “The Bounce Back” with Shemar Moore.
KH: Gosh. Shemar Moore. Of course, it’s a love story with that guy. He’s super great. It’s a straight romantic comedy. He’s play a guy who’s sort of a motivational speaker for women who need to bounce back from bad relationships and he falls in love with this woman, a psychologist. She’s very anti to whatever he’s saying and of course, they start out not having an interest in one another but their subconscious desire does come to the fore and romantic comedy ensues. I also have “A Light Beneath Their Feet” with Taryn Manning. It deals with schizophrenia and coming-of-age stories. Just keep living for the joy and that’s I choose things to do. Does it feel joyful to go towards this project? I’m going after the joy and having a good time with great people on great projects.
August 31, 2014
Making its World Premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival are directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s latest film, Samba, starring Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim, and Izia Higelin.
A recent migrant to France (Omar Sy) fights to stay in his adopted country with the help of a rookie immigration worker (Charlotte Gainsbourg), in this winning drama from the directors of the breakout hit Les Intouchables.
Three years ago, Les Intouchables became one of France’s biggest breakout hits, charming audiences across Europe and then the world. Much of its charm flowed from its co-star and Cesar Award winner for Best Actor, the exuberant Omar Sy. That performance soon led to a role in the X-Men franchise and the beginnings of a global career. If you’ve yet to discover the appeal of Omar Sy, just watch Samba.
Samba Cissé (Sy) is a migrant to France from Mali. Washing dishes in the back kitchen of a fancy hotel is hardly his European dream, but it gets worse when a bureaucratic slip-up lands him in detention. There he meets Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg), an immigration worker new to the job and unused to the hard realities of life on France’s bottom rung. When Samba is released but slapped with an order to leave France, Alice begins to let her professional role bleed into her personal life.
August 29, 2014
Tribeca Film has released the official trailer to Nas: Time Is Illmatic, which will be available in select theaters beginning October 1 and on nationwide VOD and iTunes/digital platforms beginning October 3.
The documentary is directed by multimedia artist, One9, written by Erik Parker, and produced by One9, Parker, and Anthony Saleh. It follows the trajectory of Nas’ 1994 landmark debut album, Illmatic — widely considered one of the most important and revolutionary albums in hip-hop. Featuring interviews with his ‘Illmatic’ producers (Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier) and musical peers (including Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys), NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC is a thrilling account of Nas’s evolution from a young street poet to a visionary MC. Nas will be embarking on a fall tour across North America that coincides with screenings of the film. The tour stops in 14 cities where Nas will perform his debut album ”Illmatic,” from start to finish.
Time Is Illmatic traces Nas’ influences and the insurmountable odds he faced in creating the greatest work of music from hip-hop’s second golden era. The film tracks the musical legacy of the Jones family — handed down to Nas from his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, the support of his Queensbridge neighborhood crew, and the loyalty of his younger brother Jabari “Jungle” Jones. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic is widely recognized as a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the sociopolitical outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young men searching for their voice in America. Time Is Illmatic was supported by The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.
Hip-hop luminary and multi-platinum artist, Nas, released his debut album Illmatic in 1994, and he has gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide. The legendary Queens rapper is widely recognized as a visionary and lauded for a seminal body of work that spans a two-decade career.
August 29, 2014
Some new images have been posted online to David Fincher‘s adaptation of Gone Girl, starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, and Carrie Coon.
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister Margo at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was left in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
Gone Girl hits theaters on October 3.
TV Spot #1
August 29, 2014
From Fox Home Entertainment comes BELLE starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Tom Felton, James Norton, Matthew Goode and Emily Watson.
The film is directed by Amma Asante and written by Misan Sagay. Producer is Damian Jones executive producers are Steve Christian, Julie Goldstein, Ivan Dunleavy, Steve Norris, Phil Hunt, Compton Ross and Christopher Collins with Jane Robertson and Robert Norris as co-producers. The filmmaking team includes Director of Photography Ben Smithard BSC; production designer Simon Bowles; costume designer Anushia Nieradzik; music by Oscar nominee Rachel Portman editors Pia Di Ciaula (TYRANNOSAUR) and Victoria Boydell and make-up and hair designer Marese Langan.
BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in 18th century England.
The DVD will include several special features, including short documentaries about Belle, the painting, a profile of Mbatha-Raw, and a “making of” documentary, among a few other features.
All you have to do is enter your information below starting August 29 thru Sept.3. We’ll draw names randomly on Sept. 4. 3 Winners will be notified by E-mail. Each will receive a Blu-ray copy. Only one entry per e-mail address will be accepted, and multiple entrants may be disqualified. Employees, agents, consultants and other advisors of blackfilm.com, Inc. are not eligible to participate in this contest. No one under 13 is eligible. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. GOOD LUCK!!
To enter, please email your Name, Address & Email Address to belleBD@blackfilm.com and write in “Belle BD” in the subject line. All entrants MUST be residents of the United States. blackfilm.com respects the privacy of its readers. No information submitted in this contest will be given, copied, transferred, or sold to any third parties
blackfilm.com respects the privacy of its readers. No information submitted in this contest will be given, copied, transferred, or sold to any third parties.
Clip – Now We Have Two Nieces
Featurette – Origins
Clip – Miss Dido Lindsay
Clip – I Am Not An Unwanted Maid
Clip – Don’t You Care What People Say
Clip – Hair Combing
Clip – Mabel and Breakfast
Clip – You Are Beneath Him
August 28, 2014
TV One has released some clips to Roger Bobb’s upcoming film, Girlfriends’ Getaway, starring Garcelle Beauvais, Terri Vaughn, Essence Atkins, and Malinda Williams.
Girlfriends’ Getaway will air on Saturday, August 30 at 8PM/ET, with an encore at 11PM/ET and at 11AM/ET on Sunday, August 31st
Set in Trinidad and Tobago, the comedy which is described as Waiting To Exhale meets The Hangover, Girlfriends’ Getaway is about four friends who take a trip to the Caribbean to celebrate two of their friends’ birthdays. One thing leads to another and they get into a bit of trouble.
Beauvais stars as Vicky Holmes, a successful business owner, who is outwardly hitting a stride in love and life. However, just days before a romantic birthday trip, she is blindsided by her boyfriend’s decision to relocate and end their relationship. Vicky ultimately decides to bring her best girlfriends – who are all facing turning points in their lives as well – with her, for a grown-up girls getaway in Trinidad. After their first wild night, an innocent mistake sets off a chain of events that will forever change each of their lives. When the very pregnant Sophie (played by Vaughn) is kidnapped and held for $10,000 ransom, the remaining girls have 24-hours to come together in order to get Sophie back safely or end up in jail.
Directed by Bobb (“Raising Izzie”), who also served as the film’s Executive Producer with Angi Bones serving as Producer, the film was written by Cas Sigers-Beedles, and is a co-production between Bobbcat Films and Siger’s and Vaughn’s Nina Holiday Entertainment.
August 28, 2014
Sony Pictures has released the first clip to director Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington in a big screen version of the role Edward Woodward played on the ’80s CBS series.
Washington headlines as McCall, a former black ops commando who has faked his death to live a quiet life in Boston. When he comes out of his self-imposed retirement to rescue a young girl, Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz), he finds himself face to face with ultra-violent Russian gangsters. As he serves vengeance against those who brutalize the helpless, McCall’s desire for justice is reawakened. If someone has a problem, the odds are stacked against them, and they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer.
Also starring in the film are Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, Haley Bennett, and Marton Cskokas.
The Equalizer hits theaters on Sept. 26.
Clip – How’d You Find Me
Promo # 1 – Secret
Promo #2 – New look featuring Eminem’s #GutsOverFear
Modern Hero Featurette
August 27, 2014
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President and respected veteran motion picture marketing executive Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been named the Fall 2014 O.L. Halsell Filmmaker-in-Residence at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, recognized as one of the premier film schools in the United States. The announcement was made today by Dodge College Dean Bob Bassett.
Every semester, Dodge College hosts an expert filmmaker to meet with and counsel 10 selected scholars, as part of its Filmmaker-in-Residence program. The popular program includes regular, bi-weekly meetings with the filmmaker in a one-on-one setting where the student and mentor have the opportunity to creatively develop a specific project throughout the semester. In addition, the filmmaker interacts with the larger Dodge College community at weekly dinners open to students and screenings of the filmmaker’s films followed by an in-class Q & A led by professor Jim Frederick, marketing executive/trailer editor (Sony Screen Gems, Warner Bros. Pictures and Castle Rock Entertainment)..
“As the industry continues to grapple with changing platforms and new methods of distribution, Cheryl Boone Isaacs is in a unique position to help aspiring young filmmakers understand the world of film marketing,” says Dean Bassett. “It is a privilege and an honor to have her as our Filmmaker-in-Residence.”
Cheryl Boone Isaacs was recently re-elected for a second term as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by the organization’s Board of Governors. She is beginning her 22nd year as a governor representing the Public Relations Branch. During her tenure as a governor, she served as First Vice President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer as well as President of the Academy Foundation, the educational and cultural arm of the Academy. In 2012, Isaacs produced the Academy’s prestigious Governors Awards.
Isaacs has been a respected motion picture marketing executive for over 30 years. For the last nine years, her company, CBI Enterprises, Inc., has consulted for companies such as MTV Films, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company and Sony Entertainment. Her clients have included Troika Pictures, Andrew Lauren Productions, Linden Productions, Laika Entertainment, Film Bankers International, KTLA, Success Films, Robson Entertainment, Rangeland Productions, and Cube Vision. She has consulted on marketing efforts for such films as The Call, The Artist, The King’s Speech, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, Spider-Man 2 and Tupac: Resurrection.
During her tenure as President of theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema (1997 – 1999), she developed and executed the campaigns for such films as Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, the company’s highest grossing film at that time, The Wedding Singer and such critically acclaimed motion pictures as Wag the Dog, Boogie Nights and American History X. Largely through the efforts of Isaacs and her marketing team, New Line was one of only two studios to have four films – Lost in Space, Blade, Rush Hour, and Pleasantville – open No. 1 at the box office in 1998. Rush Hour’s $33 million opening was, at the time, the largest in the company’s history.
Prior to joining New Line Cinema in 1997, Isaacs served as Executive Vice President, Worldwide Publicity, for the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures. In 1995 and 1996, she orchestrated acclaimed publicity campaigns for Forrest Gump and Braveheart, each of which won multiple Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. In addition, the campaigns were recognized by the Publicists Guild of America as the “Best” in 1995 and 1996.
From 1990 to 1994, Isaacs was Senior Vice President, Publicity, and held the title of Vice President, Publicity between 1986 and 1990. During her tenure at Paramount, Isaacs publicized the launch of such blockbusters as First Wives Club, Mission: Impossible, The Firm, Ghost, The Addams Family, Coming to America, Fatal Attraction, and the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy. Isaacs joined Paramount in 1984 as Director, Publicity and Promotion, West Coast, and was quickly promoted to Executive Director one year later.
In addition to her long tenure at Paramount Pictures, Isaacs served as Director of Advertising and Publicity for The Ladd Company where she worked on The Right Stuff, Police Academy and Once Upon a Time in America. Prior to that, she spent five years at Melvin Simon Productions (The Stunt Man, Love at First Bite, Porky’s) where her last position was Vice President, Worldwide Advertising and Publicity. She began her career in 1977 as a publicist at Columbia Pictures.
In 2014, she was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, was awarded the Trailblazer Award from Essence Magazine and was recipient of the AAFCA (African American Film Critics Association) Horizon Award. In 2013, she was honored by BESLA (Black Entertainment Sports Lawyers Association).
She currently serves as a Trustee for the American Film Institute.
She was a member of the Corporate Board of the Motion Picture and Television Fund and served as Secretary for three years.
Past notable Filmmakers-in-Residence at Chapman have included Academy Award®-winning producer Cathy Schulman (Crash, The Illusionist, Salvation Boulevard), Academy Award®-nominated producer JoAnne Sellar (There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Magnolia), award-winning director Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Grumpy Old Men, Mystic Pizza), Hollywood producer Cathleen Summers (The Sandlot, Stakeout, Another Stakeout), director and producer Betty Thomas (Dr. Doolittle, Private Parts, Brady Bunch Movie, I Spy), screenwriter and producer Leslie Dixon (Mrs. Doubtfire, Hairspray, Limitless), director and producer Jonathan Sanger (Vanilla Sky, The Elephant Man, The Producers), director Sheldon Epps (Friends, Frasier), producer Michael Phillips (Taxi Driver, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), and director Martha Coolidge (Real Genius, Rambling Rose, Valley Girl).
August 27, 2014
Lionsgate has released new posters for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, featuring the District 13 resistance (Liam Hemsworth‘s Gale, Natalie Dormer‘s Cressida, Elden Henson‘s Pollux, Evan Ross‘ Messalla, Mahershala Ali‘s Boggs and Wes Chatham‘s Castor.)
The worldwide phenomenon of “The Hunger Games” continues to set the world on fire with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which finds Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin (Julianne Moore) and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a nation moved by her courage.
Also starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Michelle Forbes, Stef Dawson, Gwendoline Christie, Patina Miller and Robert Knepper,
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens November 21 and will be followed next year by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 on November 20, 2015.
August 27, 2014
Variety is reporting that Tate Taylor, who just directed the James Brown biopic, “Get On Up,” and is known for helming ‘The Help,” is set to adapt and direct a new incarnation of “In The Heat of the Night.”
Taylor, Warren Littlefield and “The Help’s” John Norris are onboard as executive producers with MGM TV is in the early stages of developing a drama series based on the 1967 film.
Set in the present day, the series aims to examine issues of race, justice and inequality through the eyes of characters in Mississippi, where Taylor is from. Project is expected to be shopped to cable buyers in the coming weeks.
Norman Jewison directed the 1967 film, which starred Sidney Poitier as African-American police detective Virgil Tibbs sent to investigate a murder in a small Southern town in the face of hostility from the white local sheriff, William Gillespie (played by Rod Steiger). It won five Oscars, including best picture and best actor for Steiger.
The first TV series of the same name starring Carroll O’Connor as police chief Gillespie, and Howard Rollins as Tibbs was broadcast on NBC from 1988 until 1992, and then on CBS until 1994. Littlefield was NBC’s programming exec when the series was on that network.