Idris Elba Tops 88 Year-Old “Flying Mile” Speed Record in U.K.

article by Deron Dalton via eurweb.com

After 88 years, Idris Elba broke the “Flying Mile” record in the UK, going over 180 mph in a Bentley to beat 1927’s Sir Malcolm Campbell.

“I’m absolutely elated to have broken the ‘Flying Mile’ at Pendine Sands,” Elba said. “It’s an honor to have taken on the challenge, and to successfully follow in the footsteps of the illustrious Sir Malcolm Campbell.”

The “Luther” actor is filming a four-part series for the Discovery Channel called, “Idris Elba: No Limits,” which will air in July.

To read more, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2016/08/idris-elba-breaks-uk-flying-mile-speed-record-after-88-years/

Idris Elba, Vivica A. Fox, Ice Cube Among 683 Invited to Join Movie Academy — the Largest, Most Diverse Class Ever

One of the most exclusive clubs in the world just got a whole lot bigger.

In the latest and most dramatic step by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to diversify the overwhelmingly white and male institution, 683 industry professionals were invited Wednesday to join the nearly 90-year-old organization.

The group of invitees, which included Idris Elba, Brie Larson, John Boyega, America Ferrera, Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman, was touted as the academy’s largest and most diverse new class ever, more than double the 322 members invited last year.

The academy’s expansion is part of a diversity push that took on heightened urgency this year in the #OscarsSoWhite uproar, which reached a fever pitch in the run-up to this year’s awards telecast.

In January, facing blistering criticism over the lack of nominations for any actors of color for the second year in a row, academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced sweeping changes aimed at doubling the number of women and minorities — then about 1,500 and 535, respectively — in the academy’s ranks by 2020. “The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Boone Isaacs said in a statement announcing the new initiative.

In an interview following Wednesday’s announcement, Boone Isaacs said that the large and diverse class is the result a concerted campaign to show that the academy is opening its arms to groups that have been underrepresented.

“What we found is that, as much we tried to get the information out there, it wasn’t penetrating in a way that we wanted it to,” Boone Isaacs said. “So we’ve asked all our members to be the ambassadors and pay attention to men and women who have particular skill levels in their area of expertise and get them encouraged and tell us their names so that we can make sure and reach out and connect.”

According to the academy’s figures, the new class is 46% female, bringing the representation of women in the organization from 25% to 27%. Forty-one percent of the invitees are people of color, bringing minorities’ share of total academy membership from 8% to 11%.

Other  names on the list include actors Emma Watson, Tina Fey, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hiddleston and Ice Cube and directors Ryan Coogler, Julie Dash, Adam McKay and Patty Jenkins.

To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/la-et-mn-new-academy-members-20160629-snap-story.html

Common to Star in ‘Black Samurai’ TV Series Executive Produced by RZA

Common Black Samurai

Common (DAVID FISHER/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winning rapper and actor Common is set to star in a television adaptation of “Black Samurai.”  The TV project is based on Marc Olden’s 1974 book series, which inspired the 1977 film of the same name. Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA is attached as an executive producer.  Producers are working on selling the project to a distributor. Once a network, cable or streaming venue is attached, the search for a writer and director will begin.

“Black Samurai” follows the story of Robert Sand (played by Common) who is rescued by a Japanese samurai master and trained for seven years. After suffering from vicious racism in the military, and seeing his teacher and fellow samurai killed before his eyes by terrorists, Robert Sand becomes a killing machine, out to destroy the corrupt powers who had taken the lives of his friends.

Producer Andre Gaines acquired rights to the book, and is executive producing the potential series, making it the first television show developed under his Cinemation banner.

“Robert Sand is like black Jason Bourne. Black Samurai is one of the most unique, timely and fun experiences I’ve ever read, while at the same time tackling some serious subjects around race and diversity,” said Gaines. “With ‘John Wick 2’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ coming up, Common was an obvious choice for the role, and I’m thrilled to have him on board. I believe he’s the next great American actor.”

Along with Gaines and RZA, Wu Films’ Mitchell Diggs and Diane Crafford are also exec producing.  I could not be more pleased that such incredible talent is attached to Marc’s work,” said Crafford. “This series has always been one of my favorites and Robert Sand, the Black Samurai, is a fascinating character who I can’t wait to see brought to life on the screen.”

Speaking of RZA, Gaines commented, “There is a long tradition and storied relationship between hip-hop and martial arts. Having RZA and the WuTang brand on board to executive produce will validate the series even more and mobilize the fans.” 

Aside from “Suicide Squad” and “John Wick 2,” Common’s acting career is on fire. He was recently seen in the latest “Barbershop” film and NBC’s “The Wiz Live” musical.

Click here to read the full Variety.com article.

Idris Elba, John Ridley Limited Series “Guerrilla” Ordered at Showtime

John Ridley Idris Elba GUERRILLA Showtime

RIDLEY: RYDER SLOANE; ELBA: RAY BURMISTON (image via Variety.com)

article by Daniel Holloway via Variety.com

Showtime has ordered “Guerrilla,” a limited series from “American Crime” creator John Ridley, starring Idris Elba. The six-episode drama will be broadcast in the U.S. on Showtime and in the U.K. on Sky Atlantic.

Ridley will write the bulk of the episodes and direct the first two. A love story set in one of the most explosive political times in U.K. history, the miniseries tells the story of a 1970s London couple who liberates a political prisoner and forms a radical underground cell. The group targets the Black Power Desk, a true-life counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. Though set against a backdrop of social upheaval and activism, the story focuses on the relationship between the two characters at its center.

“Guerrilla” will be co-produced by Fifty Fathoms and ABC Signature, and will begin production in London late this summer.

“We’re excited to partner with our friends at Sky to bring a fascinating and unexplored story spearheaded by John and Idris, two major creative talents at the top of their game,” said Showtime president and CEO David Nevins. “Guerilla will surely keep our audience at their edge of their seats.”

Elba will serve as executive producer through his Green Door Pictures with Ridley. Patrick Spence and Katie Swinden of Fifty Fathoms, Tracy Underwood of ABC Signature and Michael McDonald of Stearns Castle will also exec produce.

Ridley extended his overall deal with ABC Studios in January for three years. His “American Crime,” which ended its second season last month on ABC, received 10 Primetime Emmy Award nominations last year for season one, with star Regina King winning for outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie. In 2014, Ridley won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay for “12 Years a Slave.”

“I am both humbled by and impressed with Idris’s passion toward bringing this story to life,” said Ridley. “I share his commitment for populating the culture with driven and complicated people of color, and believe we have great partners on the producorial level, and with our broadcasters Sky Atlantic and Showtime.”

Elba is a four-time Emmy nominee whose TV credits include “The Wire” and “Luther.” He was nominated for a Golden Globe award for his work in last year’s Netflix feature film “Beasts of No Nation.” His upcoming films include “Star trek: Beyond” and “The Dark Tower.”

“It’s been a long time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr. Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and story-telling,” Elba said. “TV is in for a treat.”

Idris Elba, Mya Taylor, Abraham Attah Win Big in Acting Categories at 2016 Spirit Awards

Idris Elba at Spirit Awards, Los Angeles, Feb 2016 (Photo by Andrew Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

Idris Elba at Spirit Awards, Los Angeles, Feb 2016 (Photo by Andrew Walker/Variety/REX/Shutterstock)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, last night at the 2016 Spirit Awards, which celebrate and honor independent films, “Beasts of No Nation” actors Idris Elba and Abraham Attah both won in their respective supporting and leading actor categories.

Mya Taylor at 2016 Spirit Awards (photo via vulture.com)

Mya Taylor at 2016 Spirit Awards (photo via vulture.com)

For the Ghanian Attah, playing the child soldier trained by Elba was his first acting role.  Elba, though not nominated for an Academy Award this year, won the Screen Actors Guild award for his part in “Beasts of No Nation” as well.

Additionally, “Tangerine”‘s Mya Taylor took home the supporting actress award for her performance as a transgender sex worker.  “I came from almost nothing,” a beaming Taylor said from the stage following a standing ovation. “My life did a total 360.”  “Tangerine” was shot entirely on an iPhone by director Sean Baker.

 

A full list of winners (in bold) and nominees follows below:

Best Feature

Anomalisa
Beasts of No Nation
Carol
Spotlight — WINNER
Tangerine Continue reading

Idris Elba Delivers Speech to UK Parliament on Lack of Opportunities for Black British Talent (VIDEO)

Idris Elba

Idris Elba (Jessica Lea/DFID)

Just as #OscarsSoWhite has become a cause cé·lè·bre here in the USA primarily, across the pond, in the UK, the picture for actors and directors of color isn’t exactly rosy either. By now, I think we’re all familiar with the struggles of black talents in the UK, with the likes of Lenny Henry, Adrian Lester, Sophie Okonedo, David Oyelowo, and others vocalizing their frustrations with the lack of opportunity for black actors in the UK, and their having to go elsewhere (the USA specifically) to find work – a “trend” that many on this side of the pond frown upon, arguing that it effectively means that there’s even more competition for a limited number of opportunities.

Now “Luther” star Idris Elba is also speaking out, although he’s taken his protest (if you will) all the way to the UK parliament, where he formally spoke to the members Monday, on the lack of diversity across British television, and its effects on talented black Brits like himself who are essentially forgotten. In his speech, he accuses the industry’s executives of not living in the real world. He argued that British television is at risk of not properly reflecting society, emphasizing that black actors in the UK are struggling to progress, especially when compared to black actors in the USA.

“People in the TV world often aren’t the same as people in the real world. And there’s an even bigger gap between people who make TV, and people who watch TV. I should know, I live in the TV world. And although there’s a lot of reality TV, TV hasn’t caught up with reality,” Elba said, adding: “Change is coming, but it’s taking its sweet time.”

Watch some of his speech below (to read the full speech, Channel 4 transcribed it in its entirety here):

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

Jussie Smollett to Host 8th Season of “AfroPop” Television Series Premiering on MLK Day

 Jussie Smollett will host the eighth season of the public television show AfroPoP: The Ultimate Exchange. The star of the hit FOX TV show Empire will emcee the popular show about contemporary art, life and culture across the African Diaspora as it premieres on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on WORLD Channel.

New episodes premiere weekly through February 15. AfroPoP is produced by National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) and co-presented by American Public Television (APT), which distributes the series to the full public television system in February 2016.

Smollett will also be seen in the new WGN thriller Underground in 2016. The acclaimed entertainer is also involved in numerous humanitarian pursuits, sitting on the boards of the Black AIDS Institute, Artists for a New South Africa and the RuJohn Foundation. 

Previous hosts of AfroPoP include Idris Elba, Anika Noni Rose, Wyatt Cenac, Gabourey Sidibe, Anthony Mackie and Yaya DaCosta.

AfroPoP’s engaging, real-life tales add to the collection of rich Black stories that audiences are clamoring for and I wanted to be a part of bringing them to national attention,” said Smollett.

Continue reading