‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Executive Produced by Jordan Peele Gets Greenlight at CBS

Jordan Peele (COURTESY: CBS)

by Joe Ottterson via Variety.com

“The Twilight Zone” reboot at CBS All Access has officially been ordered to series, the streaming service announced Wednesday.

Jordan Peele, Simon Kinberg and Marco Ramirez will serve as executive producers and collaborate on the premiere episode. Win Rosenfeld and Audrey Chon will also serve as executive producers. The new series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and Kinberg’s Genre Films. “Too many times this year it’s felt we were living in a twilight zone, and I can’t think of a better moment to reintroduce it to modern audiences,” said Peele.

The original “Twilight Zone,” created by Rod Serling, was an anthology series that delved into science fiction, fantasy, and horror in every episode. It aired on CBS from 1959-1964. CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves first announced plans for a new version of the series back in November. The series has been revived twice before. The first reboot premiered in 1986 on CBS and ran for 110 episodes. The second, featuring Forest Whitaker in Serling’s on-air role, premiered in 2002 on UPN and lasted 43 episodes. A 1983 feature-film version, “The Twilight Zone: The Movie,” included vignettes directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller.

The news also comes after Peele made a splash in the horror genre with his box office smash hit film “Get Out” earlier this year. He is also attached as an executive producer on the anthology horror series “Lovecraft Country” currently in development at HBO.

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/twilight-zone-reboot-cbs-all-access-jordan-peele-simon-kinberg-marco-ramirez-1202632108/

Academy Award Winner Mahershala Ali to Star in HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Season 3

Mahershala Ali (photo via popsugar.com)

by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

“True Detective” is back on the case. HBO’s limited series will officially return for a third season, this time starring Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. Showrunner and creator Nic Pizzolatto is set to direct, along with Jeremy Saulnier (“Green Room,” “Blue Ruin”). The next installment tells the story of a macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks, and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

Ali will play the lead role of Wayne Hays, a state police detective from Northwest Arkansas. It does not currently have an air date, nor is there a set date for the start of production.“Nic has written truly remarkable scripts,” said Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming. “With his ambitious vision and Mahershala Ali and Jeremy Saulnier aboard, we are excited to embark on the next installment of ‘True Detective.’”

To read full article, go to: ‘True Detective’ Season 3 Set at HBO Starring Mahershala Ali | Variety

“Straight Outta Compton” Executive Producer Will Packer and “Boondocks” Creator Aaron McGruder Reveal Alt-History Drama “Black America” in the Works at Amazon

Will Packer (l); Aaron McGruder (r)

by Nellie Andreeva (with Mike Fleming) via deadline.com

A century and a half after slavery was abolished in the U.S., the wounds left by one of the darkest periods in American history are far from healed, as evidenced by the controversy surrounding the recent announcement of HBO’s upcoming drama series Confederate, from Game Of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, which explores an alternate timeline of seceded southern states where slavery is legal and has evolved into a modern institution.

Another alternate history drama series, which has been in the works at Amazon for over a year, also paints a reality where southern states have left the Union but takes a very different approach. Titled Black America, the drama hails from top feature producer Will Packer (Ride AlongThink Like A Man) and Peabody-Award winning The Boondocks creator and Black Jesus co-creator Aaron McGruder.

It envisions an alternate history where newly freed African Americans have secured the Southern states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama post-Reconstruction as reparations for slavery, and with that land, the freedom to shape their own destiny. The sovereign nation they formed, New Colonia, has had a tumultuous and sometimes violent relationship with its looming “Big Neighbor,” both ally and foe, the United States.

The past 150 years have been witness to military incursions, assassinations, regime change, coups, etc. Today, after two decades of peace with the U.S. and unprecedented growth, an ascendant New Colonia joins the ranks of major industrialized nations on the world stage as America slides into rapid decline. Inexorably tied together, the fate of two nations, indivisible, hangs in the balance.

The Packer/McGruder project was announced back in early February, but at the time, it was untitled, and the producers would not divulge any details about the storyline beyond it revolving around an alternate universe in the vein of Amazon’s flagship The Man in the High Castle. It was HBO’s announcement of Confederate this month that prompted the Black America team to reveal the project’s premise.

“It felt this was the appropriate time to make sure that audiences and the creative community knew that there was a project that preexisted and we are pretty far down the road with it,” Packer told Deadline. Black America, which Packer said is in “very, very active development” with McGruder “off and writing,” originated at Amazon Studios. The service’s head of content Roy Price called Packer more than a year ago while the producer was on the set of his latest box office hit, Girls Trip.

Price soon reached out to McGruder with whom Packer had briefly worked in the past on Think Like A Man and had been looking to team up again. “Being a fan of Aaron, I thought he definitely had the right tone, the right voice, the right wit to handle a project like this,” Packer said. “Aaron and I sat together and talked about what a huge opportunity and responsibility it would be to do this project and do it right.” As for the tone of the hourlong series, it’s “a drama, but it wouldn’t be Aaron McGruder without traces of his trademark sardonic wit,” Packer said.

Black America creates the kind of utopia that has been on the minds of generations of black Americans for whom the series may have a sense of wish-fulfillment. “It was something that was personally intriguing for me as a black American,” Packer said. “You would be hard pressed to find many black Americans who have not thought about the concept of reparation, what would happen if reparations were actually given. As a content creator, the fact that that is something that has been discussed thoroughly throughout various demographics of people in this country but yet never been explored to my knowledge in any real way in long-form content, I thought it was a tremendous opportunity to delve into the story, to do it right.” Continue reading

“The HeLa Project” Exhibition Travels to NY, ATL to Honor Mortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Before Premiere of HBO Film

(image via wn.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Exhibition to Feature Artist Kadir Nelson and Poet Saul Williams.

HBO recently announced the official launch of “The HeLa Project,” a culturally-grounded, multi-media exhibition inspired by the highly-anticipated HBO film, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, which will premiere on April 22. Directed by George C. Wolfethe film is based on Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller of the same name.

The film tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line that ultimately led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

“The HeLa Project” is designed to celebrate Henrietta Lacks, the woman – to give her a voice and to humanize and recognize her. The exhibition features an original portrait by two-time Caldecott Honor Award winning artist Kadir Nelson and an original poem by Saul Williams. Additional art, curated by Lewis Long of Long Gallery Harlem, includes works by Derrick Adams, Zoe Buckman, Madeleine Hunt Ehrlich, Doreen Garner, and Tomashi Jackson.  The product of these elements, plus an educational, sculptural installation about the HeLa cells, all converge in this engaging experience.

(image vialewis museum.org)

The  exhibition debuted last week in Baltimore at the Reginald Lewis Museum, and  will run April 7th – April 9th in SoHo, New York (465 W. Broadway, Fri – Sat, 11am – 7pm, Sun 12pm – 5pm).

“The HeLa Project” will be making additional stops in Atlanta, GA on April 13th – April 16th at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Viola Davis’ JuVee Productions Raising $250M for Content Development, Production & Distribution

Viola Davis and Julius Tennon (photo via shadowandact.com)

article via shadowandact.com

JuVee Productions – the integrated film, television and digital production company created by Viola Davis and her husband, Julius Tennon, is embarking on an effort to raise $250,000,000 in a global expansion plan for the development, production and distribution of diverse and inclusive film and digital content.

The fund will be used to develop, finance, produce and distribute a slate of multiple feature films and branded digital content that will see the relatively young production company expand its footprint globally. “The shift in storytelling should be inclusive and we aim to make it a reality,” says Julius Tennon in a press statement.

Launched in 2012 by Davis and Tennon, JuVee Productions is a Los Angeles-based artist driven production company that develops and produces independent film, television, theater, and digital content across all platforms. JuVee Productions aims to become the go-to creative hub where the next generation of filmmakers and artists have the space to craft dynamic stories spanning the broad spectrum of humanity.

The company’s most recent project is the courtroom drama “Custody” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016, and aired on the Lifetime network last week. The short film “Night Shift” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year and continues to tour the film festival circuit.

Upcoming the production company has the film adaptation of “The Personal History of Rachel DuPree” which Davis is starring in; a biopic on Barbara Jordan (the first Southern African American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives), also with Davis starring; and a TV period series set up at ABC titled “The Zipcoders,” set in 1968, about a group of black teenagers form a rock ‘n’ roll band who aspire to be like The Beatles; and there’s also Davis’ Harriet Tubman film with HBO.

To read full article, go to: Viola Davis’ JuVee Productions Raising $250M for Content Development, Production & Distribution – Shadow and Act

Tupac Shakur to be Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2017

Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur (photo via latimes.com)

Legendary rapper Tupac Shakur (photo via latimes.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson

According to latimes.com, late rapper Tupac Shakur is among the group of six inductees into  the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Along with Shakur, folk singer Joan Baez, British progressive rock band Yes, Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam, English pop-rock group Electric Light Orchestra and pop-rock band Journey were chosen to join the institution for 2017.

In addition, Nile Rodgers, Chic founding member, producer and guitarist, will be inducted as an honoree for the hall’s award for musical excellence.

April 7, 2017 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be where the annual induction ceremony to induct new Hall members is held.  Tickets available to the public will go on sale in January.  The induction speeches and musical performances will be filmed for a highlights special scheduled to run on HBO after the event.

Antoine Fuqua and LeBron James Make Deal with HBO for Multi-Part Muhammad Ali Documentary

Muhammad Ali Documentary Coming to HBO

Muhammad Ali (PETER BROOKER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Debra Birnbaum via Variety.com

The “Greatest of All Time” is getting the HBO treatment.  The cabler is partnering with director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and LeBron James for a multi-part documentary about the life of Muhammad Ali.

The as yet-untitled documentary, which will explore Ali’s greatest triumphs and comebacks, has started production. It hails from James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment and Fuqua’s Fuqua Films. No air date has been set.

“Muhammad Ali is indisputably one of the most iconic and distinctive figures in the history of world sports,” said Kary Antholis, president of HBO miniseries and Cinemax. “His impact resonates far beyond the boxing ring and is woven deep into the cultural and social tapestry of the second half of the 20th century. From the moment LeBron James told us of his deep visceral connection to Ali’s life and legacy, we were committed to helping him realize this film, and our enthusiasm has only grown as Antoine Fuqua has developed his compelling cinematic vision for telling one man’s incredible journey.”

Said Fuqua, “Muhammad Ali meant many things to many people, and he is someone who had a deep impact on me from an early age. Being given the opportunity to tell his story, both inside and outside of the ring, is a privilege, and a dream come true.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/hbo-muhammad-ali-documentary-hbo-lebron-james-antoine-fuqua-1201939411/