Tag: Halle Berry

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”

“Moonlight” Triumphs at Oscars, Wins Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor

Barry Jenkins accepts Best Picture Oscar for "Moonlight" (Patrick T. Fallon via nytimes.com)
Barry Jenkins accepts Best Picture Oscar for “Moonlight” (Patrick T. Fallon via nytimes.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Moonlight topped off its amazing awards-season run by earning the Best Picture Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards. Moonlight director/writer/producer Barry Jenkins accepted the award at the end of the night after a shocking turn of events where La La Land was mistakenly called to stage to receive the Academy’s highest honor. Jenkins also won with co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor in Oscar history to win the Best Supporting Actor Award.

The star-studded evening also saw an energizing opening performance of “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Original Song nominee Justin Timberlake, a medley of two songs from “La La Land” by its co-star John Legend (“City of Stars” went on to win the Original Song award) and a standing ovation for Best Feature Documentary presenter, Presidential Medal of Freedom honoree and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who was introduced by “Hidden Figures” stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae (and wheeled out on stage by current NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle).

There were also Oscar presentations from Samuel L. Jackson, Halle Berry and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, but one of the biggest highlights of the evening was the speech delivered by three-time nominee and Best Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis:

Viola Davis (photo via Parade.com)
Viola Davis (photo via Parade.com)

People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed.  I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life. So here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people.

Davis went on to thank her co-stars and Best Director/Best Actor nominee Denzel Washington, her family and her parents.

Continue reading ““Moonlight” Triumphs at Oscars, Wins Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor”

Halle Berry Joins Forces with Saks Fifth Avenue and Christian Louboutin for Key to the Cure Campaign

article by Dominique Hobdy via essence.com

Halle Berry is using fashion to fight for a great cause.

The actress is teaming up with Saks Fifth Avenue, Stand Up to Cancer and the Entertainment Industry Foundation for the Key to the Cure campaign.

Signing on as the official ambassador for the cause, Berry will be rocking an exclusive limited-edition T-shirt designed by Christian Louboutin in the campaign images.

“I, like so many others, have been touched by cancer, which is why I’m proud to continue to lend my support to the Entertainment Industry Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer in serving as this year’s Key to the Cure ambassador,” Berry, 49, said in a statement. “I hope everyone will join me in supporting this critical cause by purchasing a Key to the Cure T-shirt.”

To read more, go to: http://www.essence.com/2016/08/04/halle-berry-teams-christian-louboutin-saks-t-shirt-line-cause

Aretha Franklin Announces Her Upcoming Biopic

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

article by Toni Akindele via essence.com

The Queen of Soul has a lot to celebrate. During the festivities of her 74th birthday at New York City’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, Aretha Franklin announced that her biopic, which faced several delays due to negotiations, has finally been given the green-light.

“I’m in the last of the negotiations, because we have agreed on the key things and the most important things,” Franklin told Huffington Post. “It’s some of the people that were involved in ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ and this is going to be ‘Straight Outta Detroit.”

And who has she casted to play herself? Well, Aretha can’t spill all the tea, but we do know she initially considered Halle Berry and then later named Audra McDonald and Jennifer Hudson as two potential Arethas.

“It’s been a long, long haul, but I think we’re right at it now,” Franklin said. “I spoke to the young lady about a week ago — I won’t say which one of the two it was — but I spoke to her, and she’s ready. We’re going to go forward with it.”

Denzel Washington is also rumored to play Franklin’s father in the film, but all will be revealed in due time.

The film will be based on the singer’s upbringing and legendary career while also shedding light on her personal relationships, including her abusive marriage to Ted White. Plans for this project have been in play since 2011 and Franklin is excited to have been given creative control.

“Empire” Star Taraji P. Henson Reigns as “Saturday Night Live” Host on April 11

Taraji P. Henson as "Cookie" in FOX's 'Empire'
Taraji P. Henson as “Cookie” in FOX’s ‘Empire’

According to usatoday.com, “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson will make her “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut on April 11, 2015.  On that day, Henson will join the short list of black women who have taken the SNL reins:  Cicely TysonKerry Washington, Queen Latifah, “Empire” castmate Gabourey Sidibe, Janet Jackson, Halle Berry and Oprah Winfrey, to name the few.

Mumford & Sons will be the show’s musical guest – their second time.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

 

Morris Chestnut Signs Three-Picture Deal with Screen Gems

Morris Chestnut

Morris Chestnut has inked a 3-picture deal with Sony’s Screen Gems, that will see him act in, as well as produce projects for the studio.

He’s already booked for the upcoming thriller “The Perfect Guy,” which he co-stars in with Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy, and he’s now also landed a starring role in the psychological thriller “When the Bough Breaks,” joining Regina Hall.

To be directed by Jon Cassar, “When the Bough Breaks” (previously titled “The Surrogate”), tells the story of a couple who hire a surrogate to have their baby, but, as you might expect, things don’t go entirely as expected.

Director Cassar’s resume includes helming episodes of hit TV series like “24,” “Daybreak” (which starred Taye Diggs), “La Femme Nikita,” the most recently-broadcast “24: Live Another Day,” and more. He’s also currently finishing a western titled “Forsaken,” starring Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, and Demi Moore.

Production on “The Surrogate” is set for early winter, with Unique Features’ Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, producing.

Meanwhile, Chestnut’s 3rd project under his 3-picture deal with Screen Gems, will be  called “The Syndicate,” from writer Cliff Dorfman (“Entourage”), which Chestnut is producing.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via blogs.indiewire.com

LisaRaye McCoy & Red Pro Launch the “LisaRaye Diamond Flatiron” in NYC

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LisaRaye McCoy (“Single Ladies”, “All of Us”, “The Player’s Club”) has teamed up with hair care company Red Pro Products and recently launched the eponymous “LisaRaye Celebrity Flat Iron”, the first in a series of  “Diamond Collection” styling tools.

2014-09-24 16.18.05McCoy kicked off the product’s introduction in New York, where she visited a salon in Harlem, did interviews with Vlogger contest winners “Glamfun” from Boston and “ChinaCandyCouture” from Atlanta (see their competition videos and interviews at www.youtube.com/glamfun and www.youtube.com/chinacandycouture) and partied at the Cove Lounge with Monifah of “R&B Divas,” Jamie Foster Brown of “Sister to Sister” Magazine, several other celebrities, stylists and fans.

Although infused with crushed diamonds and branded with a celebrity name, LisaRaye, not unlike Halle Berry with her Scandale Paris line for Target, wanted to create a top-quality product accessible to women in all income brackets.

“I wanted to create an awesome, professional grade flatiron that was affordable for the everyday consumer,” McCoy said. “Everyone wants to have beautiful, healthy hair, but can’t necessarily afford to go the salon every week. My flatiron solves that problem.”

The LisaRaye Flat Iron Facts:

  • Crushed diamonds are infused into the plates, which create an extra smooth surface with consistent heating, allowing styling with a finished look without the use of product.
  • Consistent heating helps prevent damage to the hair when styling, and results in a smoother, shinier, healthier head of hair.
  • Quick heat up and recovery, and variable temperature settings (up to 460 degrees)
  • Package includes hair clips, a heat-resistant comb and carrying pouch for travel
  • The flatiron is also designed for styling and curling, as well as straightening.

To learn even more about the Diamond Plated Flatiron and where to get it, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Halle Berry Teams Up With Scandale Paris to Create Fashionable, Afforable Lingerie

Halle Berry unveils ’Scandale Paris’ at Laduree Soho in New York City.
(PHOTO CREDIT: KEVIN MAZUR/GETTY IMAGES FOR SCANDALE PARIS)

Interview by Yolanda Sangweni via Essence.com

Halle Berry has been the face for many luxury labels (remember those Versace ads?), but now the actress is branching off into a fashion venture of her own. The lingerie lover is teaming up with 80-year-old French intimates brand Scandale Paris for a 10-piece capsule collection ranging from $7 for underwear to $18 for bras. Tres cheap, no? The best part is that the line is available at Target, or shall we say –– Tarjay. Let Halle, the new Scandale co-owner, tell you herself.

ESSENCE.com: Why Target? It’s very affordable.  It’s for the everyday woman. Why that brand?

HALLE BERRY: That’s why, because I have over the years liked some amazing pieces of lingerie.  They were a small fortune, and most of them given to me because I refuse to pay $200 for a bra, but companies have sent them to me and I’ve enjoyed them.  I thought this is great that somebody sent to me, but can real women really go and spend $200 on one bra?  It never quite made sense.

But I love lingerie, and like I said in the top, I have friends that wear the same $200 bra until it falls apart, and I thought something’s not right here.  If you can partner with Target, and you manufacture with La Perla because he knows how to do it, if he can make a quality product and we can sell it for $16 at Target, and it’s something that’s on the level of any great product, it’s not going to fall apart, that’s quality, and I thought that’s a win for us and it’s a win for the consumer because they can have a collection of bras now.  You don’t have to wear one until it falls apart, you can wear a different one everyday and you haven’t broken your bank.

That for me was really important to offer that to women.

ESSENCE.com: Is this only going to be sold at Target?

BERRY: It’s only going to be sold in Target, it’s just we’re starting sort of small with our signature collection, and then we’re going to roll it out.  We’re starting in some of their bigger stores to launch, and then we’ll go out into all the smaller stores with more.  As we’ll roll into the spring with a whole spring line that’s a different colorway than these colors are.  Then we’ll have a different collection for summer, then a different collection for fall.  Then we’ll go in with different styles then what’s standing, trying to be seasonal at the same time.

ESSENCE.com: Was this lingerie line developed at home?

BERRY: Yes.  Being married to him, honestly, he has held me to a standard because he’s from there (Paris) and so he’s very picky about, you know, if I don’t have on something quite right he’s like, “What’s this?” Okay. It’s that time of the month so I chose some red.  In three days, I’ll be back.  He holds me to it, and that’s nice.  It’s nice to have a man that notices and cares.

ESSENCE.com: And appreciates it.

BERRY: …and appreciates it, yes, and appreciates it.

ESSENCE.com: Will Molly Woods be wearing Scandale next season?
Continue reading “Halle Berry Teams Up With Scandale Paris to Create Fashionable, Afforable Lingerie”

ABC Gives Full-Season Orders to ‘Black-ish’ and ‘How to Get Away with Murder’; CBS Renews “Extant”

Blackish, Murder, Extant

According to Variety.com, television projects featuring African-American leads have fared extremely well this season.  ABC has given full-season orders to the Anthony Anderson/Tracee Ellis Ross comedy “Black-ish” and the Viola Davis vehicle “How to Get Away with Murder,” two of the highest-rated new programs on all broadcast channels.  CBS, in turn, has picked up summer sci-fi drama “Extant” for a second season.  “Extant” stars Halle Berry and is produced by Steven Spielberg.

“Murder” is the fall’s highest-rated new series in adults 18-49, and the premiere also set DVR playback records, gaining about 6 million viewers within the first three days of its airing. It is created and executive produced by Pete Nowalk (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”). Shonda Rhimes (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), Betsy Beers (“Scandal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Bill D’Elia (“Grey’s Anatomy,” “The West Wing”) also serve as executive producers.

“Black-ish” has come on strong as the fall’s top new comedy in 18-49 (2.9 rating) and total viewers (9.1 million) in same-day viewing estimates. This week, the show saw a 12% week-to-week increase in adults 18-49, retaining about 80% of its “Modern Family” lead-in. It was created by Kenya Barris and is executive produced by Anderson, Barris, Jonathan Groff, Larry WilmoreLaurence Fishburne, Helen Sugland and E. Brian Dobbins.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

History, Halle Berry Developing “Hannibal” Miniseries

Halle Berry Hannibal Mini Series History
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

History and Halle Berry have teamed to develop Hannibal, a miniseries centering on famed general Hannibal Barca in the Second Punic War.  Beginning in 264 BC, Hannibal takes viewers through the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome, exploring the relationship between Hannibal and his archrival Scipio Africanus. Despite their fiercely opposed allegiances, the two are brought together and grow to respect each other as brothers.

Berry will executive produce the miniseries, with Jeffrey Caine serving as the series’ writer. The project will be a co-production between A+E Studios and Red Arrow Entertainment.  “Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live,” said Berry, “he may have been the greatest general, period. His story is an intricate and captivating ride and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.”

This miniseries builds on Berry’s small screen plans, as the actress was recently cast in the CBS project Extant. Steven Spielberg is executive producing that hour-long Eye drama.

article by AJ Marechal via Variety.com