Monday, May 20, 2019
REEL TALK: Forest Whitaker & Angela Bassett; Morgan Freeman; San Diego Black Film Festival
By Sentinel News Service
Published December 14, 2012



“Black Nativity” to star Whitaker and Bassett


The musical Black Nativity will start production in late January 2013 with Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”) attached as the male lead, opposite Angela Bassett and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”). Fox Searchlight will distribute the film.


A few months ago, the studio decided to shut the film down before production began in October due to the lack of a Black male lead that can carry a film and match up with Bassett and Hudson. It stated that Samuel L. Jackson had backed out of the role and Laurence Fishburne had turned it down. Sources said that Jackson was never on board to begin with 


‘Black Nativity’ tells the story of a teenage boy from Baltimore who is sent by his single mother to Harlem to spend Christmas with the grandparents he’s never met. Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon, he learns about the importance of faith and family. Hudson will play the mother who hasn’t spoken to her father since they had a falling out after she got pregnant. Bassett and Whitaker will play the boy’s estranged grandparents, Rev. Clarence and Aretha Cobbs. Whitaker is expected to play multiple characters during the Nativity sequence.


Lemmons is writing and directing the film based on Langston Hughes’ gospel musical that was first performed on Broadway in 1961. Casting director Tracy ‘Twinkie’ Byrd is currently putting together the rest of the cast. Production will run from January to March 2013 in New York City. 


Bill Horberg and Celine Rattray will produce with Galt Niederhoffer and Daniela Taplin Lundberg, while Joy Goodwin will executive produce.

Whitaker had directed Bassett in the 1995 romantic comedy-drama and blockbuster hit “Waiting to Exhale” that also starred the late Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon and Loretta Devine. Whitaker also played Hudson’s father in the 2008 film, “Winged Creatures.”


He will next be seen opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Last Stand,” which theaters on Jan. 18 and he recently completed production on Lee Daniels‘ film, “The Butler.”


Freeman to stars in ‘Now You See Me’


The trailer has been released for ‘Now You See Me,’ which is directed by Louis Letterier (Clash of the Titans) and opens on June 7, 2013.


The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Melanie Laurent, Dave Franco, Morgan Freeman, Common and Michael Caine.


The Four Horsemen, a magic super-group led by the charismatic ATLAS (Jesse Eisenberg), perform a pair of high-tech magic shows, first astonishing audiences by robbing a bank on another continent, and then exposing a white-collar criminal and funneling his millions into the audience members’ bank accounts.


FBI Special Agent DYLAN (Mark Ruffalo) is determined to make the magicians pay for their crimes—and to stop them before they pull off what promises to be an even more audacious heist. But he’s forced to partner with ALMA (Melanie Laurent), an Interpol detective about whom he is instantly suspicious. Out of desperation he turns to THADDEUS (Morgan Freeman), a famed magic debunker, who claims the bank heist was accomplished using disguises and video trickery. One thing Dylan and Alma agree on is that the Horsemen must have an outside point person, and that finding him (or her) is key to ending the magicians’ crime spree. Could it be Thaddeus? Or Alma? Or could it really be…magic?


As pressure mounts and the world awaits the Horsemen’s spectacular final trick, Dylan and Alma race to find an answer. But it soon becomes painfully clear that staying one step ahead of these masters of illusion is beyond the skills of any one man—or woman.


Film Festival Spotlight


The San Diego Black Film Festival will be held from Jan. 13 til Feb. 3, 2013. It was established in 2002 and is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of African American and African Diaspora cinema as well as the education of media arts.


Held each year in late January, the San Diego Black Film Festival is one of the largest black film festivals in the country.


As the San Diego Black Film Festival enters its 11th year, we’re more excited than ever. The event continues to experience tremendous growth and is now one of the largest black film festivals in the country and second largest on the west coast. Our motto is “Spotlight on African American and African Diaspora Cinema.” We screen over 100 films each year: Comedy, Drama, Documentaries, Animation, GLBT, Horror, Religious, Foreign/African Diaspora, Shorts, Feature Films and music videos.


As the first and largest black film festival of the year, numerous film festival reps scout new films from us for their event. Simply put, each year the San Diego Black Film Festival will premiere a large percentage of the films that will go on success, through out the year at other film festivals, nationally and internationally.

Categories: Entertainment

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