Jesse L. Martin Leaves ‘Law & Order’
Guess Who’s ‘Coming to Dinner’
Don’t know about you, but I’m really going to miss handsome hunk Jesse L. Martin on “Law & Order.” Martin, who played Detective Ed Green on all four “Law and Order” series, officially leaves the show this week after a nine-year-run.
Martin’s breakthrough role came when he starred in the original Broadway production of “RENT.” Now, the Virginia born actor may be returning to the Great White Way. The actor is currently in talks to star in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” a new Broadway-aimed production based on the 1967 movie about a white woman who brings her black fiancé home to meet her parents.
Martin will play John Wade Prentice, the role played in the film by Sidney Poitier. Kenny Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”) is attached to direct the play, which is expected to begin rehearsals in August.
Martin is still in talks regarding the biopic “Sexual Healing” based on the life of singer Marvin Gaye.
For “Law & Order” fans, the word on the street is Compton’s own actor Anthony Anderson will replace Martin on the show. He reportedly will take over for the remaining episodes that will air later this season.
Soul Train and Don Cornelius Ink Movie Deal
Last week, we informed you that the Soul Train Awards were cancelled for this year. This week there’s news that Warner Brothers Pictures has teamed with “Soul Train” creator Don Cornelius to develop “Soul Train: The Movie.”
The film will be a “buddy comedy” that centers on two men who dance on a weekly TV show. Cornelius says the characters get into “a lot of good stuff and some bad stuff as well.” It features “lots of music, lots of comedy,” he added, as well as “a little bit of violence.” He also promised it would be “more than slightly sensual.”
“‘Soul Train’ has always been about sexuality,” Cornelius said. “It’s almost never been about guys, and almost always about girls. It’s what has kept us afloat for these three decades or so.”
Cornelius will serve as producer along with Darryl Porter, the executive producer of the Hughes brothers’ 1995 drama “Dead Presidents.” The project has yet to name a director or cast, but Cornelius has made it clear that he will not appear in the film.
A former Chicago radio DJ who hosted “Soul Train” for its first 22 years, Cornelius said he had long planned to make a movie, but was either busy running the syndicated TV show, or had difficulty getting all the elements together at the same time.
He was able to devote more time to the effort after “Soul Train” ended its historic run in 2006. Cornelius said “Soul Train” and the show that inspired it, Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” together ran for about 70 years, and it was time to rest the simple — but lucrative — format of kids in a TV studio dancing to music. He is developing some new “Soul Train” programming concepts for television, but declined to get into specifics.
Another Cruise Takes On Hollywood!
Connor Cruise, the adopted African American son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, will make his film debut in the upcoming Will Smith drama Seven Pounds, according to People Magazine.
Connor, 13 – who has grown up around movie sets – will play a young version of Smith in a very minor role. Even with such famous acting mentors in his corner, Connor had to audition for the part.
“Tom is so proud of Connor,” says a source. “He’s proud of him for really doing this on his own.” The Columbia Pictures film, which is still in production, also costars Woody Harrelson and Rosario Dawson.
Actor Ving Rhames wants an apology from the press and he wants it now. Rhames says last year’s incident where his caretaker died at his home was erroneously blamed on his huge dogs. Now, it’s been determined that Rhames’ friend and caretaker died of sickle cell anemia.
Rhames wasn’t home at the time. The “American Gangster” TV host was away filming in Bulgaria at the time of the incident. When paparazzi approached him this week he said: I’m sorry, really, that the press gave such a negative report of the situation that his (caretaker’s) family had to deal with. The reason was sickle cell anemia.” Rhames’ dogs – three mastiffs and one bulldog – were originally taken away, but later returned to the actor.
Wayne Brady Officially Divorced
Wayne Brady is officially single again.
The 35-year-old comedian has been living separately from his wife, Mandie, for four years, but the couple’s divorce was just finalized this week.
According to papers filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the pair married in April 1999 and officially separated in April 2006, citing irreconcilable differences. They have one daughter: 5-year-old Maile Brady.
The couple used a mediator to arrive at a final divorce settlement. Details about their child custody, child support and property-division arrangements were not made public.
Brady recently guest-starred on TV’s “Everybody Hates Chris” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
His publicist did not immediately return a call for comment Wednesday
Turner Broadcasting Named No. 1 for Black Employment
Turner Broadcasting System was named the No. 1 company for blacks by the magazine DiversityInc. “Turner reports that 22 percent of its work force and 28 percent of all new hires were Black. The media company spends 25 percent of its advertising budget at media aimed at multicultural people, including Blacks,” it said.
Turner Broadcasting, a Time Warner company, “creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world. Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., CNN Headline News, CNN International and CNN.com; TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Peachtree TV and Turner Sports; Cartoon Network and Boomerang; and Adult Swim, GameTap and Super Deluxe,” according to its news releases. Last year, CNN received the National Association of Black Journalists’ Best Practices award.