Director Spike Lee received a six-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival after the Monday night premiere of his new drama “BlacKkKlansman.” The movie, which tells the true story of an undercover African-American detective (John David Washington) and his Jewish partner (Adam Driver) who team up to infiltrate Klu Klux Klan in 1979, is incredibly timely. It even ends with footage of Donald Trump refusing to condemn the actions of white nationalists during the deadly 2017 Charlottesville riot.
There are a lot of digs at the current president throughout ““BlacKkKlansman” — one KKK member talks about embracing an “America first” policy and the film makes parallels between the rise of Trump and the political ambitions of former Grand Wizard David Duke.
Lee walked the red carpet wearing brass knuckles from “Do the Right Thing,” which said “love” on one hand and “hate” on the other. He was joined by cast members Washington, Driver, Damaris Lewis, Jasper Paakkonen, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, and Corey Hawkins.
LeToya Luckett will play Dionne Warwick in “Dionne,” a new biopic about the legendary singer that was announced at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday morning.
Danny Glover will portray Warwick’s father, Mansel Warwick. Olympia Dukakis will co-star as German songstress and actress Marlene Dietrich, who mentored Warwick. The film will span the early days of Warwick’s career from 1962 to 1968, as she belted out would-be classics like “Alfie” and “I Say a Little Prayer.”
Warwick, 75, said she was pleased that Luckett (an original member of Destiny’s Child) was channeling her on the big screen. “She just kind of morphed,” Warwick said of meeting the actress. “Vocally, she was right. Her look was completely right.”
Shooting is set to begin in October, with Mario Van Peebles in talks to direct. AMBI Pictures and David F. Wooley’s WW Film Company are financing the movie. Producers are Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Wooley and Jacker Binder.
Wooley revealed that he’s already spent 10 years getting the story to the big screen. After early scripts stalled, he realized that he needed a book to adapt the movie from, and co-authored “My Life, As I See It: An Autobiography” with Warwick. Then the movie was back on track, with Randall Jahnson (“The Doors”) writing the latest screenplay with Wooley.
In 2013, Warwick made headlines when she declared bankruptcy with $10 million in tax debt. When asked if the project would help with her finances, Warwick declined to comment.
Kevin Macdonald, who won an Oscar for “One Day in September,” is to direct a theatrical feature documentary about the life of Whitney Houston. It is the first documentary to be officially authorized by her estate.
The film will be produced by Simon Chinn, who won Oscars for “Man on Wire” and “Searching for Sugar Man,” his Lightbox Media partner Jonathan Chinn (“Fantastic Lies,” “American High”) and Lisa Erspamer (“Running From Crazy”). Altitude Film Sales is introducing the project to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival, with U.K. rights acquired by Altitude Film Distribution. Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall will executive produce.
The film will include an interview with Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, currently chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment, who is acknowledged for bringing Houston to prominence.
Houston broke more records than any other female singer in the history of popular music, with over 200 million album sales worldwide, and inspired a generation of singers from Mariah Carey and Lady Gaga to Beyoncé.
According to Variety.com, Atlas Entertainment has hired Jamie Foxx to star in Noam Murro’s drama “Blink” with production starting this fall. Murro will direct from a Black List script written by Hernany Perla. Atlas Entertainment’s William Green and Aaron Ginsburg are producing with Atlas’ Jake Kurily in place as an executive producer. Highland Film Group is negotiating international sales at the Cannes Film Festival.
Foxx will play a hospital worker tasked with caring for a mysterious victim of a bank robber. As the two become closer, it’s revealed Foxx’s character has ulterior motives of his own.
Murro recently directed Warner Bros.’ “300: Rise of an Empire,” starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Lena Headey. Academy Award winner Foxx recently starred as villain Electro in “Amazing Spider-Man 2” and updated Daddy Warbucks character Will Stacks in the 2014 “Annie” remake.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Coogler is back on the University of Southern California campus for the first time since becoming one of the country’s most promising young filmmakers, and he heads straight to the camera-rental center where he worked as a student. He runs into a former classmate, who high-fives and congratulates him, then asks for a photo. Coogler sheepishly obliges.
“This is inspiring, right here!” the younger man says as he snaps an iPhone shot of himself and Coogler. “Thank you, bro!” Coogler gives the student his email address, then looks for his old boss, the equipment manager, who tells the 27-year-old filmmaker that he’s set a new standard for success at USC’s film school, which counts Ron Howard and George Lucas as alumni.
There’s no doubt he has. Coogler’s ”Fruitvale Station” — his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 — won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, where the Weinstein Co. outbid a dozen studios to distribute it. Originally called simply “Fruitvale,” the film opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and around the nation later this month. Oscar buzz has already begun.
ATLANTA, Ga. — The founder of one of America’s first modeling agencies to represent women of color has placed her papers at Emory University.
Pioneering entrepreneur Ophelia DeVore Mitchell set up the New-York-based Grace Del Marco in 1946 at a time when it was almost unthinkable for black women to be recognized in the media for their beauty.
In its early days, the groundbreaking agency paved the way for African-Americans to pursue careers in the fashion and entertainment industries.
Agency launched black superstars
Indeed, the agency and modeling school helped launch the early careers of actresses Diahann Carroll and Cicely Tyson.
It also represented people such as Gail Fisher; Richard Roundtree; Trudy Haynes, one of the first black female TV reporters; and Helen Williams, one of the first African-American fashion models to break into the mainstream.
DeVore’s extensive collection consists of thousands of items, from photos to scrapbooks relating to her time at the helm of the agency, to lengthy correspondence from her other business ventures.
In an interview with theGrio, DeVore, who is surprisingly lucid for her 92 years, says when she co-founded Grace Del Marco, “people of color didn’t even count in the beauty industry, not just in America, but across the world.”
Her drive, she says, came from her own personal experiences working briefly as a model, mainly for Ebony Magazine, from the age of 16.
Though DeVore is of mixed-race origin, the South-Carolina-born beauty became acutely aware of how black people were depicted in the media and subsequently made it her mission to change these images.
Two years later, in 1948, Devore established the Ophelia DeVore School of Charm, where young black women learned etiquette, poise and posture, speech and ballet, and self-presentation.
The archives, which span from the 1940s to 1990s, document the changing attitudes and images of non-whites in the beauty industry, says DeVore’s son, James D. Carter, who took over the charm school for a number of years and later ran other aspects of the Devore businesses.