Meet “The Hustle” Cast: Erica Dickerson aka “Ya-Ya”
At first glance, I thought this was another documentary on the history through present-day hip-hop, but thankfully it’s not. According to Deadline, it’s apparently going to be a scripted drama series, which will chart “the birth of hip-hop from the violence of gang life in 1970s Bronx.” It’ll be penned by Patrick Macmanus (co-writing the CW’s Sleepy Hollow) for the Starz network. To be titled Turf, no other info is available on this project yet, like how broad the narrative will stretch, or whether it’ll take more of a micro view, focusing on very specific people, and following their stories. Also, I can’t really comment on Macmanus, as I’m not familiar with the man’s work. Unless there’s another Patrick Macmanus who isn’t listed on IMDB, the Macmanus that is listed has a resume that show’s he’s primarily an actor, with parts on TV series like CSI and JAG, but nothing consistent. Deadline says he was on the writing staff for 2 other Starz series: Marco Polo and Noir.
So who’s going to play DJ Kool Herc?
Programmed by ActNow Foundation, it all takes place February 15th-18th 2013 at BAMcinématek (the movie wing of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the nations oldest ongoing performance center); the festival which in the past has played independent films like Tanya Hamiton’s “Night Catches Us’ (starring Kerry Washington & Anthony Mackie) , Ava DuVernay’s ‘I Will Follow,” the Aunjanue Ellis starring “The Tested,”as well as compelling documentaries such as “Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise & Fall of the Spook Who Sat By The Door,” “Sneaker Stories,” and “The Furious Force of Rhymes.”
The deadline to submit is November 20, 2012.
It’s that time of the year, as prognosticators at every level start handicapping the Academy Awards, which are set to take place on February 24 (nominations will be announced on Januray 15, 2013). As much as some of us might dismiss the Oscars as an indication of where black cinema is, or where blacks in cinema are, we can’t ignore their overall industry relevance. I can already hear the chants: who cares about the Oscars; they’re not for *us.* Well, a lot of folks in the industry (and out) do certainly care, and see value in the recognition. I plan to post a follow-up piece that looks at the history of the awards show, and how (or if) it’s impacted the careers of those black entertainers who’ve won trophies.Today, I’m focusing on black actors who just might make the short list of Oscar nominees in the Best Actor (male) category when they’re announced in January; and as you’d expect, there aren’t many of them.In fact, of the 600+ films that would have seen Oscar-qualifying USA theatrical releases by the end of this year, I counted a total of 19 that feature a black male actor in a leading role. How pathetic is that? Doing the math, that’s about 3% of total volume. It shouldn’t be shocking however; it’s a rare occurrence when we cover a film (especially a studio-backed project) that features a black man in the lead role. Very, very rare. 19 times rare. Actually it’s less than 19, because I’m also including indie features in that number.19 out of well over 600 films! It’s a white man’s world, in case you needed that clarification. The overwhelming majority of films with male leads (the bulk of movies made by studios today) star white male actors. And if you take a closer look at the list of 19 films, you’d very quickly dismiss most of them as potential Oscar contenders, given what we know of the criteria for Oscar-caliber movies. In fact, I’d say of the 19, only 3 really stand a chance of making the short list of nominees for Best Actor. First, here’s the list of 19: Red Hook Summer, The Magic of Belle Isle, Wuthering Heights, MIB 3, Safe House, Think Like a Man, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, Flight, Red Tails, Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds, Alex Cross, A Thousand Words, The Man with the Iron Fists, The Intouchables, Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day, Unconditional, 2 Days in New York, The Last Fall, and Django Unchained.Am I forgetting any films? I used Box Office Mojo as my primary source. I don’t think there are any glaring ommissions though.And of those 19, the only 3 that I think have a shot at nominations are: Denzel Washington in Flight (he’s probably a sure-thing), Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained, and Omar Sy in The Intouchables. The last 2 are Weinstein Company movies, and we all know how well Harvey Weinstein does when it comes to ensuring that movies he wants on the ballot, make it on the ballot.The Omar Sy pick might seem out of left field to you, but, as we’ve noted in past posts, there’s been a definite push to get him an Oscar nomination for his work in that film. He already won the French equivalent of the Oscar (the César) for Best Actor, so why not the Oscar as well.”We definitely think this is an Oscar movie, and we think that Omar, like Jean Dujardin before him, is in this race,” Harvey has said. Of course he’s referring to Jean Dujardin who won the Best Actor Oscar earlier this year, for his work in The Artist (one of the most over-rated movies I saw in 2011).Maybe he’ll make it a a double, with Omar Sy this year. I doubt it, given the competition; but a nomination isn’t entirely out of the question.But if I were to pick one of these 3 actors who I thought was guaranteed to make the short list of 5 nominees, I’d go with Denzel without any hesitation. Django Unchained isn’t out yet, but even when it is released, I don’t know if Jamie’s peformance will match the overwhelming buzz that’s surrounded Denzel’s work in Flight since it was released.And I think Omar Sy would need even more of a push. I’m not really hearing his name mentioned as a real contender.As for the other 16 films on the list, the only other title that I’d say has some potential is Wuthering Heights, which stars James Howson as Heathcliff. There just hasn’t been enough buzz to help elevate awareness of the film. It was released on October 5, and was met with mixed reviews. It hasn’t even reached $100,000 in box office, despite having been in theaters for over a month. And I haven’t Howson’s name mentioned at all as a potential awards contender. It would help if he’d been up for other awards, especially as the film traveled the festival circuit, but he hasn’t picked up any.
I should mention that I considered other films with black actors in starring roles, but none of them featured what would be traditionally referred to as a male lead, so I didn’t include them on the list of 19; these are roles that, if nominated, would likely be in the Best Supporting Actor category. For example: Omari Hardwick and David Oyelowo in Middle Of Nowhere (it’s really Emayatzy Corinealdi’s movie); I’d say the same for the male characters in Sparkle, and also Beasts Of The Southern Wild (specifically, Dwight Henry). CONTINUE READING..
So that’s it!
It was almost exactly 1 year ago, when we announced that Qasim Basir (on the heels of the home video release of his feature film directorial debut Mooz-Lum) had officially begun prepping his next film – a drama titled simply Destined. Since then, little has been publicly available about the project, other than a synopsis and early poster art, which were shared on the film’s Facebook page last year, with the tagline, “One man. Two stories. One choice that changes everything.” Skip ahead a year later to today, as I’ve learned from both Qasim and Tommy Oliver (the project’s producer) that the film has been filling its cast, and is set to begin production at the end of December in Atlanta, with Qasim directing from his own script, Oliver producing, and Hill Harper executive producing through their new production company, Confluential Films. I’m told that Omar Epps, Mekhi Phifer, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Keri Hilson and Michael Rainey Jr are all currently attached to star in the film, with a few more actors circling, and who will be announced later. In Destined, a pivotal moment in 13-year-old Rasheed’s life splits off into two possible outcomes: in one, he becomes an up-and-coming architect being used by cynical real estate developers to gentrify and destroy his old neighborhood, and in the other he becomes a powerful drug lord who rules his surroundings but may regret what he’s built. Intrigued? I am; the parrallel worlds/lives angle is attractive and I’m looking forward to seeing how Qasim builds this universe on screen. CONTINUE READING…