Tag: “Fruitvale Station”

Chadwick Boseman and Ryan Coogler on How ‘Black Panther’ Makes History | Variety

Black Panther Variety Cover
CREDIT: ART STREIBER FOR VARIETY

by Ramin Satoodeh via Variety.com

Chadwick Boseman struggled to catch his breath after he was cast as Black Panther. When he first tried on his spandex suit for 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” it felt too restricting. “It was suffocating,” recalls Boseman. “Literally, it closed off every possibility of air getting to you. I was in it, put the mask on. I said, ‘Hey, you got to get me out of this!’” By the time he headlined his own movie, as the first black Marvel superhero with his name on the poster, Boseman was more comfortable in his re-engineered costume. “I think it begins to feel like skin after a while,” says the 41-year-old actor. “But it takes time to get to that place.”

The same can be said for Disney’s long-awaited tentpole “Black Panther,” which opens in theaters on Feb. 16. For decades, actors, directors, producers and fans have wondered why Hollywood was so slow to bring black superheroes to the big screen. It’s not that there weren’t attempts along the way. In the ’90s, Warner Bros. had originally tapped Marlon Wayans to portray Robin in a “Batman” movie, before Chris O’Donnell landed the sidekick role. Wesley Snipes starred in the vampire superhero franchise “Blade,” which spawned two sequels. In 2004, Halle Berry headlined “Catwoman,” which was ridiculed by critics and tanked at the box office. And 12 years later, Will Smith, the co-star of the juggernaut “Men in Black,” popped up in “Suicide Squad” as the under-seen assassin Deadshot.

“Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, is a movie that doubles as a movement, or at least a moment that feels groundbreaking in the same way that last year’s runaway hit “Wonder Woman” inspired millions of women. “Panther” marks the first time that a major studio has greenlit a black superhero movie with an African-American director and a primarily black cast, including Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright as Shuri, the princess of the fictional African country Wakanda.

The reality of this milestone isn’t lost on Coogler, the 31-year-old director of the Sundance darling “Fruitvale Station” and the “Rocky” sequel “Creed.” “I think progress comes in ebbs and flows,” Coogler says. “I hope things continue to open up. As more content gets made, more opportunities like ours can come about for folks. But you’ve got to put your foot on the gas when it comes to that or things can go back to where they were.”

“Black Panther” chronicles an origin story for a Marvel character who first made his debut in the comic books in 1966. On the big screen, he’s a warrior named T’Challa, who returns home to an Afro-futuristic country to inherit the throne as king. The release of the movie coincides with a crossroads in America. Racial tensions are heightened as a result of a president who continually makes reprehensible remarks about immigrants from nonwhite countries. “Black Panther” also arrives on the heels of #OscarsSoWhite, the two consecutive years (2015 and 2016) that the Motion Picture Academy failed to nominate any actors of color for awards.

Anticipation for the release of “Black Panther” is much higher than for the last outings from Batman and Thor. In May 2016, the hashtag #BlackPantherSoLIT started trending on Twitter as casting details around the movie emerged. “Panther” is poised to break box office records for February, a typically quieter time as audiences catch up on romantic comedies around Valentine’s Day. Marvel’s latest crown jewel is tracking to gross an estimated $150 million on its opening weekend. Strong business for “Black Panther,” which cost nearly $200 million to produce and roughly $150 million more to market, would send a clear message to the movie industry that certain communities are still widely underserved. While domestic ticket sales plummeted last year, the number of frequent African-American moviegoers nearly doubled to 5.6 million in 2016, according to a survey by the Motion Picture Assn. of America.

Some are paying attention. “Representation matters,” says Alan Horn, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, which owns Marvel. “It’s a powerful and important thing for people to know they are seen and to see themselves reflected in our films and the stories we tell.” Horn believes that “Black Panther” is part of a wave of change. “In terms of gender diversity, we’ve done very well,” he says, pointing to his studio’s own roster that includes “Beauty and the Beast,” “Coco” and the upcoming live-action “Mulan.” “When it comes to diversity reflecting color and ethnicity, I’d say yes, you will see more.” Continue reading “Chadwick Boseman and Ryan Coogler on How ‘Black Panther’ Makes History | Variety”

Jay Z and Weinstein Co. to Make Trayvon Martin Film and Documentary Series

Trayvon Martin (photo via variety.com)

article by Justin Kroll and Brent Lang via variety.com

Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and the Weinstein Company are partnering on an ambitious series of film and television projects about Trayvon Martin.  The indie label and the rap icon won a heated bidding war for the rights to two books — “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” The 2012 shooting of the 17 year-old Martin sparked a national debate about racial profiling and inequities of the criminal justice system that brought about the Black Lives Matter movement.

The African-American high school student was killed by George Zimmerman, 28, who was a member of the neighborhood watch in his Florida community. He claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self defense after the two became involved in a physical altercation. Zimmerman’s acquittal on a second-degree murder charge inspired protests around the country.

“Suspicion Nation” is by Lisa Bloom and recounts her experience covering the trial for NBC. She looks at the mistakes made by prosecutors that caused them to lose what she describes as a “winnable case.” “Rest in Power” is by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. It tells a more personal story, looking at Martin’s childhood and the aftermath of his death.

The plan is to make a six-part docu-series with Jay Z producing as part of a first-look deal he signed with the studio last September. The indie studio will also develop a narrative feature film. The Weinstein Company earned critical raves for “Fruitvale Station,” another true story, about the death of Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man who was killed in 2009 by a BART police officer.

To read more: Jay Z to Make Trayvon Martin Film and Documentary Series | Variety

Michael B. Jordan Starring in MGM’s ‘Thomas Crown Affair’ Remake

Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan (ROB LATOUR/VARIETY/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”, “Creed”) is slated to star in MGM Studio’s second remake of the heist thriller “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

The reboot is in early development stages and has no producer, writer or director attached. Jordan teamed with MGM on “Creed,” which performed with a very profitable $172 million worldwide, proving Jordan’s worth as a leading man.

The original “Thomas Crown Affair,” directed by Norman Jewison, was released in 1968.  Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway starred in the film in which McQueen’s character masterminded a Boston bank robbery of $2.66 million without meeting any of the four thieves.  Director John McTiernan’s 1999 remake starred Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. The film was a solid hit, grossing $124 million worldwide.

Jordan, obviously younger than the two former leading men, will likely bring a fresh, contemporary energy to the role, and hopefully this elevated genre vehicle will increase his staying power at the box office.

More on this project as it develops.

“Creed” Director Ryan Coogler Named as Warner Bros. Creative Talent Ambassador in U.K.

'Creed' Director Ryan Coogler Named as
‘Creed’ Director Ryan Cooler (GREGORY PACE/BEI/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Leo Barraclough via Variety.com

Ryan Coogler, director and co-writer of “Creed,” has been named as the first Warner Bros. Creative Talent Ambassador in the U.K. The news comes as the studio’s Creative Talent program welcomed participants of its third season.

Coogler was supported early in his career by the Time Warner Foundation in partnership with Sundance Institute, which enabled him to develop his first feature film, “Fruitvale Station.” The film went on to win the Grand Jury Prize and the audience award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

Coogler said: “Having experienced firsthand the support and impact of programs similar to Warner Bros. Creative Talent, it is fantastic to know that passionate young people of all backgrounds are being given the chance to follow their dreams here in the U.K. This can be a tough industry, and so we need to do what we can to bring talented young people into it.”

Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros. U.K., Ireland and Spain, said: “I am thrilled that Ryan has become an ambassador for Warner Bros. Creative Talent, as he is the perfect example of the effect that a program like this can have on one’s life and career. We’re already seeing our talented young people taking strides into the industry, just a couple of years into the program, and I can’t wait to see what season three will go on to achieve.”

Warner Bros. Creative Talent participants will receive funding and training opportunities as part of a multilayered program that includes scholarships at some of the country’s top higher-education institutions. These include three Prince William scholars in film, television and games in partnership with BAFTA; apprenticeships at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and Warner Bros. Television Production U.K.; trainee positions on every Warner Bros. film production in the U.K.; training-course places for young people at inclusive theater company Chickenshed; work-experience places for students at a school local to Warner Bros.’ London HQ; and work placements on the London West End musical “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

“Creed” Director Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)

The annual Kent Lecture was established by the Organization of Black Students at the University of Chicago in 1984, and was named after the late Dr. George E. Kent, who was one of the earliest tenured African-American professors at the University of Chicago, and its first African-American professor of English.

The prestigious honor was “designed to serve as a platform for community exposure to African-American luminaries” and since its inception, speakers who have given the lecture are names you would expect, such as Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Michelle Alexander.

This year, the OBS pulled off a real coup and got, for the first time, a film director. Not only just a film director, but the director of “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed,” Ryan Coogler himself, to give this year’s Kent Lecture.

According to OBS, Coogler will be discussing “blackness in mixed forms of media, specifically film, the importance of representation, and why stories such as these are so important to tell.” After his opening remarks, there will be a moderated Q&A with Coogler (no doubt there are going to be a lot of audience questions about the Oscars and “Black Panther”).

The event will take place at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago campus (1175 E. 57th); starting at 7PM and yes it’s free and open to the public. But get there early to secure a seat because they will likely be going fast.

article by Sergio via blogs.indiewire.com

Nate Parker’s “The Birth Of A Nation’ Wins Sundance U.S. Dramatic Jury and Audience Awards

birth of a nation sundance 2016 still
Nate Parker’s “Birth of a Nation” (photo via deadline.com)

UPDATE, 7:45 PM: It’s a double win for The Birth Of A Nation tonight at the Sundance Film Festival Awards. First the Nate Parker-directed, written and starring film won the U.S Dramatic Audience Award and now it has scored the prestigious U.S. Dramatic Jury Award.

“Sundance is like a great summer camp experience,” said a clearly humbled Parker onstage. “This has been like the greatest moment of my career,” he added. “It just means so much.” nate parker sundance double winThis is the fourth year in a row that the same film has won both the U.S. Audience and Jury awards. Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale, which was renamed Fruitvale Station upon wide release won both awards in 2013,  Whiplash won in 2014 and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl won last year.

PREVIOUS, 7:10 PM: After an emotional and acclaimed debut screening on January 25 and a record breaking $17.5 million pick-up by Fox Searchlight the very next morning, The Birth of a Nation sealed its Sundance Film Festival tonight with yet another big win. The Nate Parker directed and starring passion project about Nat Turner’s 19th century slave uprising took the Audience Award for U.S Dramatic Saturday night in Park City.

Thank you Lord, Thank you Sundance,” said Parker taking the stage with the film’s producers Jason Michael Berman, Aaron Gilbert, Brenda Gilbert and EP Ryan Ahrens. “I’ve seen first hand that people are open to the idea of change and the fact that this is happening means everything to me, “ Parker added of the issues raised in the film and the reaction it’s received. “Thank you to everyone who voted for the film, he also said to big applause. “I share this with you.” The film is also in the running for the  U.S. Dramatic Jury Award at Sundance this year.

Made for under $10 million by the Red Tails actor with the likes of San Antonio Spurs’ star Tony Parker coming in as an EP, the visceral Nation depicts the horror of the system of slavery and the 48-hour revolt Turner instigated in 1831 in Virginia. And Yes, in this time of the diversity and #OscarsSoWhite discussion that Hollywood is engaged in unfortunately again, if you feel you recognize the name, it’s because Parker re-appropriated the title of the infamous 1915 film by D.W. Griffith that helped reinvigorate the KKK in America.

With Parker as Turner and Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller, Aja Naomi King and Chike Okonkwo co-starring, the film saw multiple standing ovations and tears streaming down the faces of patrons at its packed Eccles Theatre premiere. Within minutes, potential buyers were working the phones in the lobby and an all night bidding war between Netflix, Sony Pictures, the Weinstein Company, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios and others broke out.

In the end, it was Fox Searchlight that Parker, his producers and WME went with. “Ultimately with Searchlight I felt a connection and a humanity on just a human level, not to say that it wasn’t there with the others, but there was a relationship and a synergy with respect to what impact we wanted it have on the world – a global approach,” Parker told me on the morning of January 26 just hours after the deal was done.

A global approach for a pic that now has its first but likely not last award in hand.

article by Dominic Patten and Patrick Hipes via deadline.com

“Creed” Director Ryan Coogler to Direct “Black Panther” movie for Marvel

"Creed" Director Ryan Cooler (photo via buzzfeed.com)
“Creed” Director Ryan Cooler (photo via buzzfeed.com)

After several months of meeting with various black directors and not locking one to helm “Black Panther,” it’s finally confirmed that “Creed” director Ryan Coogler is in negotiations to direct the action film for Marvel and Disney, TheWrap reports.

The studio has been desperate to lock a black director, and had considered Ava Duvernay and F. Gary Gray for the project. Marvel and Coogler had discussed the movie in the past, but both sides cooled on the negotiations until recently resuming talks.

EUR previously reported on Coogler’s comments regarding why the race of the director is important on projects such as “Black Panther.” He explained ScreenRant, ”Yeah, I think it’s important. Perspective is so important in art. That’s not to say that you can’t work outside yourself.”

Since the critically acclaimed success of Coogler’s tragic drama “Fruitvale Station,” he has had his pick of projects, including the “Rocky” franchise, casting his “Fruitvale” star Michael B. Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed. The Oscar-buzzed film grossed nearly $30 million its opening weekend.

When asked during a recent interview how important it was “to build a central narrative of a black boxer in a film that doesn’t directly address race,” Ryan responded:

“It was very important. When I would watch “Rocky” films, Apollo was the guy that I identified with as a young black man, because I grew up as an athlete for most of my life. With boxing, we have a long history of the greatest American fighters and so many of them are black and Hispanic but you don’t see that representation in cinema so I was really excited.”

Chadwick Boseman is set to star as T’Challa, the superhero in charge of a fictional African nation called Wakanda. The character will first be introduced in “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Creed” is currently playing in theaters across the country.  “Black Panther” is scheduled to be released Nov. 3, 2017.

article by Ny MaGee via eurweb.com

Michael B. Jordan in Just-Released “Creed” Trailer Proves “Rocky” Sequel Has Punch

This is two minutes and forty three seconds of just pure sublime. It’s Ryan Coogler’s Creed, the MGM/New Line film that Warner Bros will release this fall. This isn’t just another installment of Rocky. After Coogler and Michael B. Jordan teamed on the Sundance sensation Fruitvale Stationeach of these young guys had their pick of projects. Coogler used his currency on his dream to make Creed. Turns out that while he was growing up, Coogler’s father showed him the Rocky movies to instill the notion of heroes and the idea that dreams can come true with hard work.

Rocky-CreedAs he became an accomplished wide receiver at Sacramento State and a budding filmmaker, Coogler’s father later came down with ALS. All of the touchstones of his life are rolled into this movie and it required him to win the trust of Sylvester Stallone, who was very protective over his first and most memorable character creation. When the movie became a reality, there was no one else he wanted to play the role of Apollo Creed’s son (it started out as grandson, but that evolved).

It is becoming a right of passage for actors to play ring heroes, and, just like Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw, Miles Teller in Bleed for This and Edgar Ramirez in Hands Of Stone, Jordan accepted the challenge and got himself into rocking gym shape. The film follows the late Apollo Creed’s son Adonis Johnson stepping into the boxing ring, a profession which killed his father in Rocky IV when he battled Russian fighter Drago. “Your Daddy died in the ring,” a trainer reminds the young Creed who retorts, “That got nothin’ to do with me.” Adonis turns to Rocky Balboa to train him. At this point, The Italian Stallion has completely checked out of the boxing game.

Best part in the trailer that will raise hairs, is when the young Creed meets Rocky:

“I heard about a third fight between you and Apollo behind close doors, is that true?,” asks the fighter.

“How do you know all this?” asks Rocky.

Declares Johnson: “I’m his son.”

article by Anthony D’Alassandro via deadline.com

“12 Years a Slave” Wins Best Feature and More at Independent Spirit Awards

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According to Variety.com12 Years a Slave dominated the Independent Spirit Awards today, winning Best Feature,  Best Director for Steve McQueen, Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong’o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley12 Years also took the cinematography award for Sean Bobbitt.  McQueen dedicated his Best Director award to Solomon Northup, whose life and book was the basis for the searing historical drama, and also gave thanks to Chiwetel Ejiofor — the “soul” of the film.

In her acceptance speech, a composed Nyong’o said breathlessly that she had not been aware initially of the distinction of independent films, but said she then realized, “Independent film is where stuff actually happens.”  Nyong’o noted that it was her birthday and concluded her speech by thanking her mother for supporting her choice to become an actress.

Fruitvale Station finally gained some much-deserved recognition this awards season, winning Best First Feature for writer/director Ryan Coogler and its cast.  Coogler gave a moving acceptance speech honoring Oscar Grant that received a standing ovation.

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor trophy as an activist for Dallas Buyers Club and Cate Blanchett took the best actress award for her portrayal of the neurotic title character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. A full list of winners appears below.

In order to be nominated, each film has to have less than a $20 million production budget. To vote, one need only buy a $95 per year membership in Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Continue reading ““12 Years a Slave” Wins Best Feature and More at Independent Spirit Awards”

Vanity Fair’s 2014 Hollywood Issue Features Biggest Display of Diversity in its Cover History

Julia Roberts poses with (fromt lef) Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and George Clooney on the March cover of Vanity Fair.
Julia Roberts poses with (front left) Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba and George Clooney on the March cover of Vanity Fair. (ANNIE LEIBOVITZ EXCLUSIVELY FOR VANITY FAIR)

Vanity Fair released a sneak peek of its 20th annual Hollywood Issue on Monday, and it may be the most groundbreaking one yet.  The magazine has apparently taken steps toward emphasizing the diversity of Hollywood. For the first time since it began putting out the annual special in 1995, six of the 12 celebrated thespians gracing the 2014 cover are not white.  The magazine has come under fire in the past for an apparent lack of diversity. Just a few years ago, as Buzzfeed has pointed out, a 2010 the cover featured nine actresses — all white, thin and under 40 years old.

Over the years the annual selection has included one or two minority actors — such as Angela Bassett in 1995, and Lucy Liu and Salma Hayek in 2004 — but this year’s edition shows how expansive the African-American film scope has grown across several genres.

(From left): Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, Idris Elba, George Clooney,  Michael B. Jordan, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris, Brie Larson, Chadwick Boseman, Margot Robbie and Léa Seydoux.
From left: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, Idris Elba, George Clooney, Michael B. Jordan, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Naomie Harris, Brie Larson, Chadwick Boseman, Margot Robbie and Léa Seydoux. (ANNIE LEIBOVITZ EXCLUSIVELY FOR VANITY FAIR)

Among those featured on the three-panel foldout are many of Hollywood’s most heralded actors of the past year, including Oscar nominees Julia Roberts, for August: Osage County, Jared Leto, who is the front-runner in his Best Supporting Actor category for Dallas Buyers Club, and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o from 12 Years A Slave.

Continue reading “Vanity Fair’s 2014 Hollywood Issue Features Biggest Display of Diversity in its Cover History”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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