Tag: “Belle”

“Belle” Director Amma Asante’s New Film “A United Kingdom” to Open BFI London Film Festival

“A United Kingdom” starring David Oyewolo and Rosamund Pike, directed by Amma Asante (COURTESY OF PATHE)

article by Leo Barraclough via Variety.com

Director Amma Asante’s third feature “A United Kingdom,” which stars “Selma’s” David Oyelowo and “Gone Girl’s” Rosamund Pike, will open the 60th BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 5.

Asante won the BAFTA for most promising newcomer for her debut “A Way of Life,” and followed that with “Belle,” which won best actress for Gugu Mbatha-Raw at the British Independent Film Awards.

“A United Kingdom” tells the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern-day Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.

The LFF gala screening, which will be the film’s European premiere, will be attended by Asante, Oyelowo and Pike. There will be a live cinecast from the London event and simultaneous screenings in movie theaters across the U.K.

The film’s screenplay is penned by Guy Hibbert (“Eye in the Sky”), based on the book “Color Bar” by Susan Williams. Oyelowo plays Khama, with Pike as his future wife, Williams. Other cast members include Jack Davenport (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), Terry Pheto (“Mandela”), Tom Felton (“Harry Potter”), Arnold Oceng (“Adulthood”), Jack Lowden (“’71”) and Laura Carmichael (“Downton Abbey”).

Clare Stewart, London Film Festival director, said: “Amma Asante’s ‘A United Kingdom’ is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker.”

Asante commented: “It’s a great privilege that ‘A United Kingdom’ has been selected as the opening night film of the BFI London Film Festival. The festival means a lot to me personally, having showcased my first film, ‘A Way of Life,’ here and been honored with the U.K. Film Talent Award. I’m a proud Londoner, and in ‘A United Kingdom’ we’ve been able to film in some of the most beautiful parts of the city as well as in the wonderful landscapes of Botswana.”

The film is produced by Rick McCallum (“Star Wars”), Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Brunson Green (“The Help”) and Charlie Mason. The film is executive produced by Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, the BFI’s Ben Roberts, Ingenious Media’s Eleanor Clark Windo and Guy Hibbert.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/global/amma-asante-a-united-kingdom-bfi-london-film-festival-1201800077/

Gina Prince-Bythewood to Direct and Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star in Adaptation of Roxane Gay Novel “An Untamed State”

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood and actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw (photo via deadline.com)

article by Mike Fleming Jr. via deadline.com

Gina Prince-Bythewood will direct and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will star in An Untamed State, an adaptation of Roxane Gay‘s debut novel that the director will co-write with the author for Fox Searchlight. Michael De Luca will produce through his Michael De Luca Productions banner with Prince-Bythewood.

an untamed stateThe novel tells the powerful, unflinching story of a Haitian-American woman kidnapped for ransom in front of her husband and child. The novel explores the privilege that made her a target and the strength she must draw on to survive and reclaim her life. Prince-Bythewood is best known for directing Love and BasketballBeyond the Lights, and The Secret Life of Bees, and with husband, Reggie Rock Bythewood, she is executive producing the 10-hour event series Shots Fired for Fox, Imagine Television and Undisputed Cinema. Mbatha-Raw most recently starred in Concussion and Belle, and she teamed with Prince-Bythewood on Beyond the Lights.

To read more, go to: http://deadline.com/2016/03/gugu-mbatha-raw-to-star-gina-prince-bythewood-to-helm-an-untamed-state-1201724469/

Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson Cover Elle Magazine’s ‘Women in TV’ issue

(Elle Magazine)

Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson are in Elle Magazine’s “Women in TV” issue, and they aren’t pulling any punches when it comes to talking about how media has warped our images of women, especially women of color.

Davis said that television and media has warped our perception of female sexuality, saying that TV “lies about women.”

“If you are anywhere above a size 2, you’re not having sex,” Davis said. “You don’t have sexual thoughts. You may not even have a vagina. And if you’re of a certain age, you’re off the table.”

Henson said that it is hard for black characters to be taken seriously, and that perception is something she has had to fight when she plays the character of Cookie Lyon on Empire.

“It was very important to me that she not be sassy and neck-rollin’ and eye-bulgin’ and attitude all the time,” said Henson. “Everything she does is coming from a place of fighting for her family. That’s why she’s not a caricature.”

article via thegrio.com

‘Get On Up,’ ‘Selma,’ ‘Dear White People’ Score NAACP Image Award Nominations (Full List)

"Dear White People"
NAACP Image Award Best Picture nominee “Dear White People”

“Belle,” “Beyond the Lights,” “Dear White People,” “Get On Up” and “Selma” have grabbed top film nominations for the 46th annual NAACP Image Awards.

The Image Awards will be handed out Feb. 6 in a ceremony telecast live by TV One.

“Get On Up” star Chadwick Boseman, “Selma’s” David Oyelowo, Nate Parker of “Beyond the Lights,” Gugu Mbatha-Raw of “Belle” and Tessa Thompson of “Dear White People” are among the actors who were cited.

Boseman, Oyelowo and Mbatha-Raw are all portraying real-life people.

In the TV heat, ABC freshman “Black-ish” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” BET’s “The Game” and “Being Mary Jane” were among the top nominees. ABC did well, earning three of the five drama-series nominations. Also notable was Lifetime’s scoring seven of the 10 nominations in the two lead acting categories for telefilm/miniseries/dramatic special.

Here is a full list of Image Award nominees:


Motion Picture

  • “Belle” (Fox Searchlight Pictures/ DJ Films)
  • “Beyond The Lights” (Relativity Media)
  • “Dear White People” (Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions)
  • “Get On Up” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Selma” (Paramount Pictures)

Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Chadwick Boseman – “Get On Up” (Universal Pictures)
  • David Oyelowo – “Selma” (Paramount Pictures)
  • Denzel Washington – “The Equalizer” (Columbia Pictures)
  • Idris Elba – “No Good Deed” (Screen Gems)
  • Nate Parker – “Beyond The Lights” (Relativity Media)
 Actress in a Motion Picture
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw – “Belle” (Fox Searchlight Pictures/ DJ Films)
  • Quvenzhané Wallis – “Annie” (Columbia Pictures)
  • Taraji P. Henson – “No Good Deed” (Screen Gems)
  • Tessa Thompson – “Dear White People” (Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions)
  • Viola Davis – “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” (The Weinstein Company)

Continue reading “‘Get On Up,’ ‘Selma,’ ‘Dear White People’ Score NAACP Image Award Nominations (Full List)”

Kerry Washington to Star in Warner Bros. Thriller “Unforgettable”

Kerry Washington Starring in Unforgettable

“Scandal” actress Kerry Washington is in talks to star in the Warner Bros. thriller “Unforgettable,” sources confirm. The deal is still in the early stages but sources say both sides are determined to get a deal worked out.

“Belle” director Amma Asante is set to direct the film, which centers on a man whose new wife is menaced by his ex-wife. Warner Bros.-based Denise DiNovi is producing with partner Alison Greenspan. Christina Hodson is writing the script for “Unforgettable.”

article by Justin Kroll via Variety.com

“Belle” Director Amma Asante on How the Indie Drama Turned Her Into a Hollywood Player

Amma Asante on set of “Belle” (Photo Courtesy Fox Searchlight)

If you asked most people in Hollywood who Amma Asante was just a few months ago, you’d probably get a blank stare. Now, after the release of her critically acclaimed film “Belle,” the British writer-director is a certified Hollywood player.

Asante’s life and career took a dramatic turn in May, when “Belle” hit theaters in North America. TheWrap spoke with her this past weekend in Boston at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention, where Asante introduced clips of the film during a presentation by Fox Home Entertainment.

“You make a movie essentially in a bubble, I think, especially when it’s your second movie,” Asante said. “So, I was certainly making this movie in a bubble, and wondering whether my concept of the world, and my concept of the world back then as well, would connect to an audience today.”

It seems Asante had no reason to worry. “Belle” received an impressive 83 percent positive rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and the independent film earned a respectable $10 million at the box office via Fox Searchlight.

RELATED: “Belle” Does Well in Limited Release; Expands to 10 More Cities Next Weekend

The movie is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) – the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of Royal Navy Captain, Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Lindsay leaves Belle to be raised by her aristocratic great uncle, Lord Mansfield, in 18th century England. Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson) are already taking care of another niece, and the two girls become inseparable. But while Belle’s lineage allows her certain privileges, her skin color prevents her from having the traditional noble social status.

Amma Asante speaks at NABJ in Boston, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 (Credit: Brett E. Chambers)

“Initially this project had started off with my producer and the writer who’s credited on the film, with HBO in America. Then HBO dropped the project,” Asante said. After the script passed through several different hands, Asante decided to give it a more personal touch.

“What I did was, I put my experiences into Dido’s life. That was the easiest way of connecting the historical facts and to try and make it personal … There are many lines in it that are quotes from my father and quotes from my sister,” Asante said, referring to the fact that she grew up in England, but felt like an outsider because she is black and of Ghanaian descent.

“We lived in an area where we were one of only two black families on the street,” Asante explained as she opened up about her personal experiences with racism. “We went through that period of having feces through the letterbox (mailbox) … and graffiti on our walls.”

Continue reading ““Belle” Director Amma Asante on How the Indie Drama Turned Her Into a Hollywood Player”

“Belle” Does Well in Limited Release; Expands to 10 More Cities Next Weekend

belleFox Searchlight had another solid debut this weekend with its initial limited opening of Belle in four New York and L.A. theaters.  British-set period drama Belle,directed by Amma Asante and staring Gugu Mbatha-Raw,  managed a regal bow, grossing over $104K, giving the film a $26,123 theater average. Searchlight said the feature outgrossed “Spider-Man 2” at the Landmark Theatres in West LA and was the second-highest grosser at the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood. In New York, it also had strong numbers at Lincoln Plaza and Sunshine theaters.

“We’re pretty happy with how it opened. It’s an interesting thing with a film that’s very sophisticated like this and you’re hoping to get the cinephile crowd out,” Searchlight’s EVP of Distribution Frank Rodriguez told me Sunday morning. “The secret of this film is to keep it in theaters and see if it can get some traction. We know we have a great art film and we know we’re going to do well with it. The real goal here is to see if it can go a little mainstream. To do that with Spider-Man and the like will be interesting. Perhaps it’s a bit of counter-programming, but if we had had a $15 – 25K [PTA this weekend] I would have been happy, so we’re at the high end of that. In this business anything can happen, but we’re going into the right theaters and targeting a sophisticated audience.”

Fox Searchlight will open Belle in ten more cities next weekend including Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Toronto, San Francisco and Boston as it lures the film’s natural art-house crowd while also tempting some cross-over. The company expects Belle to be in about 350 theaters by Memorial Day weekend and it will head into about 50 – 60 runs next weekend.

article by Brian Brooks via deadline.com