January 09, 2014
By Pat Hendricks Munson
Idris Elba and Naomie Harris who portrays Nelson and Winnie Mandela in the oscar-worthy film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom were in Palm Springs this past weekend to screen the movie as part of the 25th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival being held now through Jan 13.
Elba and Harris, who said she was very nervous to play Winnie Mandela but received rave reviews from Mandela’s former wife, along with U2's Bono and The Edge participated in a question and answer session after the film’s screening Sunday at the Annenberg Theatre in Palm Springs. Elba taught about the “profound effect” of making the movie, meeting Nelson Mandela and the bitter sweet London premiere.
Three quarters through the premiere the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, was handed a cell phone. Her expression and the tears rolling down her face let Elba know that something was amiss as the Duchess handed the phone to her husband Prince William. Elba soon learned what the call was all about; Nelson Mandela had just died. Once the film ended an official announcement from South Africa’s President Zuma was read to those in attendance.
The star of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom felt it would be inappropriate to continue promoting the movie. However, he was strongly encouraged by Mandela’s daughters that he most promote the movie and help keep their father's legacy alive. Bono, a friend and long-time supporter of Mandela’s wrote the Golden-Globe nominated theme song, “Ordinary Love” for the movie.
LAWT News Service
Imani Hakim, best known for her role as Tonya Rock on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, to star as Gabby Douglas in the Lifetime Original Movie “The Gabby Douglas Story” (working title), produced by Sony Pictures Television. The movie details the inspiring true story of the international gymnastics phenomenon, who overcame overwhelming odds to become the first African American ever to be named Individual All-round Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympics.
Hakim will play Gabby Douglas, as a teenager and young adult.
The cast also includes Sydney Mikayla who will portray Douglas during her childhood, Peabody Award-winning actress Regina King as her mother and Golden Globe® and Emmy®-winner S. Epatha Merkerson as her grandmother.
“The Gabby Douglas Story” is set to air on Lifetime in February 2014.
Daniele Watts (BRADDOCK AND JACKSON, WEEDS, DJANGO UNCHAINED) who recently earned a series regular role playing Martin Lawrence's daughter on the new FX show, "Braddock and Jackson" has most recently been cast opposite Max Burkholder (THE PURGE, PARENTHOOD) in an untitled coming-of-age feature length dark comedy. Shooting begins this month in Los Angeles.
The film is written and directed by Morgan Krantz, best known for his viral sensation comedy series Neurotica, which boasts 2 million+ views and The Cyclist, a short film starring Shannyn Sossamon. Krantz has also secured internet rap sensation, Kitty Pryde, to co-star. Set to produce are Eric Pumphrey (Reckless Tortuga) and Luke Baybak (Let’s Be Civil, Kenneth!).
“Its definitely going to stir up some discussion” says Watts, who has been working with Krantz over the past year to develop the story which follows a romance between a disgruntled teenage boy (Burkholder) and his babysitter, played by Watts. “On the surface she may seem “whitewashed” to the average viewer but as the character is revealed the audience will get another view beyond that typically unchallenged cultural assumption. It’s a deconstructed Uncle Tom archetype caught in a love affair of Romeo and Juliet proportions.”
Director Morgan Krantz describes the project as similar to “The Ice Storm” or “The Squid in the Whale” in tone. “In my mind it’s a comedy, but the jokes are buried underneath - we’re not whacking you on the head with it.”
This isn’t Watts first foray into darkly comic material. She’s had memorable cameos in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and one of the most blogged about short films of 2011, The Strange Thing about the Johnsons. She also played a sizeable arc as Shane Botwin’s oddball-girlfriend on the last season of Showtime’s hit show, WEEDS.
Academy Award winner Mo’Nique (“Precious”) has joined the cast of Patrik Ian Polk’s “Blackbird” and will co-star alongside Isaiah Washington, fresh off his critically acclaimed and Gotham Award-nominated performance in the film “Blue Caprice.” Mo'Nique and her husband Sidney Hicks are also Executive Producing the film through their NAACP Image Award winning Hicks Media production banner. Producers are Patrik-Ian Polk (Tall Skinny Black Boy Productions), Keith Brown (Kbiz Entertainment), Isaiah Washington (Coalhouse Productions) and Carol Ann Shine.
“Blackbird,” which was shot on location in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is based on the coming of age novel of the same name by Larry Duplechan.
“‘Blackbird’ is a film about the choices people are forced to make as they struggle to figure out how to be themselves. And why should just being who you are be a struggle?” explained Executive Producer Sidney Hicks. “Since Mo’Nique won the Oscar, we have received numerous scripts, but nothing captured our attention until Isaiah, who we have a high level of respect for, sent us Blackbird. We became instant fans of Patrik-Ian Polk and knew we had to get behind this important film.”
Patrik Ian Polk said, “When we wrote the role of Claire Rousseau, we dreamed of attracting an A-list actress. So to actually get an Oscar winner of Mo’Nique’s caliber was literally a dream come true. And she’s quite simply amazing in the role.”
“Blackbird” tells the story of 17-year-old Randy Rousseau (newcomer Julian Walker), a devout high school choir boy struggling to come of age in the small religiously conservative Mississippi town he calls home. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir with facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit – a misfit plagued by eerie visions and premonitions. Complicating matters, his little sister has gone missing and his parents have subsequently split up, leaving him to care for his heartbroken mother, Claire (Mo’Nique). When Claire discovers a shocking secret her son has been hiding, she blames him for the disappearance of his sister. Randy’s father, Lance (Isaiah Washington), who has been keeping a watchful eye on his broken family, steps in to give his son a hand as he struggles to make the difficult transition into manhood.
In addition to Mo’Nique and Washington, the film stars newcomer Julian Walker, Terrell Tilford, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Lamaar, Nikki Jane and D. Woods.
January 02, 2014
You’ve done a lot of things in life that no one has agr eed with at the beginning. Finding agreement this week will be difficult, but it should not deter you from moving forward. Feeling sorry for your loneliness will discolor what you are doing. Be happy that you are alone. Soul Affirmation: I get joy from giving good things. Lucky Numbers: 3,18, 31
Eternal optimist, eternity is now. Get in touch with your hopefulness and be a beacon to others. Try not to be taken in by promises made by others or promises you’ve made to yourself. Concerning your own affairs, avoid contemplating lofty subjects and seeking long ranged solutions. Soul Affirmation: Time is the greatest peacemaker of them all. Lucky Numbers: 6, 28, 39
Some say optimism is fantasy. Suppose the good thing you’re optimistic about never comes. This week you’ll know that the joy of anticipating it is joy enough. Just the certainty of coming goodness is present goodness. The joy of tomorrow is available this week. Soul Affirmation: This week is the week the Lord has made. I rejoice in it. Lucky Numbers: 22, 36, 38
You might be looking into the buying or selling of a piece of property, and this week seems to be a favorable week for this type of negotiation. Be careful with the intricacies of the matter. Pay attention to details or it could cost you a great deal later. Soul Affirmation: I care deeply about the feelings of others. Lucky Numbers: 14, 21, 35
Your multi-tasking abilities will kick into high gear this week. While it’s sometimes difficult for you to know how to handle a particular situation, this week you’ll know the perfect answer. Everything good is unfolding! Soul Affirmation: New intuitions create new plans and a new cast of characters. Lucky Numbers: 7, 8, 25
Your self-discipline helps you to do more this week. People will be watching as you zip around with style and grace! Broaden your cultural horizons by trying new foods and meeting new people. You’ll be pleasantly surprised! Soul Affirmation: I am patient with all that comes my way this week. Lucky Numbers: 3, 5, 9
Sociable, lovable you! You can have a wonderful week this week if you hook up with like-minded friends. You’ll find that many are on your wavelength this week. Appreciate your ability to bring people together. Soul Affirmation: Luck is my best friend this week. Lucky Numbers: 5, 16, 29,
You’ll be full of good ideas this week, so make sure you write down the ones you don’t have time to put into action. You’ll want to share your thoughts on a grand scale, and your mind will seem truly universal to you. Try to be patient with those who are staggered by your brilliance. Soul Affirmation: Light from my soul shines in many directions. Lucky Numbers: 3, 7, 9
This week let your gentle spirit shine through. Your rough and tumble side is not appropriate for the relationships that you’ll encounter. Someone will need your understanding and sympathy. Give it with sensitivity. Soul Affirmation: My life itself is my greatest creation. Lucky Numbers: 30, 39, 44
You’re faced with a formidable task but when you defeat it, you’ll take big steps toward a goal. Weigh in and give it your best. Your energy is high. The task looks larger before you start. Compromise with a partner. The immediate future promises love. Soul Affirmation: I enjoy the spirits of people whose spirits are akin to mine this week Lucky Numbers: 33, 34, 52
Yield to the harmony that lies below the surface of any seeming disagreement. Serenity is more important than your sense of righteousness. Questioning the motives of others will make your mind too suspicious to benefit from the unclear way in which love will present itself this week. Soul Affirmation: Freedom of mind is the greatest gift for me this week. Lucky Numbers: 14, 53, 54
Your intuition is showing, and you may surprise yourself as much as you surprise another by making a sudden intuitive leap and saying what you feel. You may feel as if you can read a certain someone’s mind. Use your gift for good.. Soul Affirmation: I let my luck work for me. Lucky Numbers: 10, 23, 46
DECEMBER 26, 2013 – JANUARY 1, 2014
You’ve done a lot of things in life that no one has agreed with at the beginning. Finding agreement this week will be difficult, but it should not deter you from moving forward. Feeling sorry for your loneliness will discolor what you are doing. Be happy that you are alone. Soul Affirmation: I get joy from giving good things. Lucky Numbers: 3,18, 31
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