John Ridley Options Atlanta Child Murders Memoir “No Place Safe” for ABC Studios

John Ridley ABC Deal

John Ridley (SUZI PRATT/FILMMAGIC)

John Ridley is making the most of his producing deal with ABC.

The Oscar-winning producer has optioned Kim Reid’s “No Place Safe: A Family Memoir” for ABC Signature Studios, along with Michael McDonald.

Ridley has also lined up a top-secret Marvel project as well as the second season of the Emmy-nominated “American Crime.” He also recently sold a new detective drama pilot, “Presence,” to the Alphabet.

Ridley and McDonald will produce the limited series via their companies International Famous Players Radio Picture Corporation and Stearns Castle, respectively.

Part mystery thriller, part coming-of-age story and part civil-rights history, “No Place Safe” is a memoir set in 1979 at the time of the Atlanta child murders and told through the eyes of a young African-American teenager. Reid’s mother, an investigator in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office who was on the task force searching for the serial killer, told her in detail about the quest for the murderer of 29 victims, mostly young black boys.

Ridley signed an overall deal with ABC in 2014.

article by Debra Birnbaum via variety.com

André Benjamin Joins ABC Drama Series ‘American Crime’

2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals

Andre Benjamin (Photo: Getty Images)

Jimi: All Is By My Side star André Benjamin has been cast opposite Regina King on the second season of John Ridley’s ABC drama series American Crime. Benjamin will play architect Michael Lacroix. He and his wife, Terri, are prominent members of the community in which they reside. A true power couple, they have both the financial means, as well as the acumen needed to fiercely defend their son when he becomes entangled in a scandal at an elite private school.

In addition to King, Benjamin joins returning stars Lili Taylor, Felicity HuffmanAmerican_Crime_ABCTimothy Hutton, Elvis Nolasco and Richard Cabral — all of whom will be playing new characters in a new setting. Season 2 is filming in Austin. Ridley executive produces American Crime with Michael J. McDonald for ABC Studios.

The casting is a reunion for Ridley and Benjamin. Ridley wrote and directed the Jimi Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side, in which the actor and Outkast rapper Benjamin starred.

“Personally, I couldn’t be more excited than to work again with André,” said Ridley in a statement. “He is an amazing individual, a true artist, and All is by My Side is one of the reasons I was given the reins on American Crime. Folks at ABC were absolutely moved by André’s performance in the film, and by the overall language of cinema we used in telling the story. It’s fair to say American Crime might not exist were it not for our previous collaboration.”

article by Denise Petski via Deadline.com

Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, John Ridley, Key & Peele and Neil deGrasse Tyson are Among More Than 20 African-Americans Nominated for 2015 Primetime Emmys

2015 Primetime Emmy Nominees Viola Davis, John Ridley (top), Keegan-Michael Key and Taraji P. Henson (bottom)

2015 Primetime Emmy Nominees Viola Davis, John Ridley (top), Keegan-Michael Key and Taraji P. Henson (bottom)

The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced today, and it’s clear that diverse casting in television is finally impacting more than ratings. Eighteen African-American actors and actresses were acknowledged by the Television Academy for their work on the small screen this past season, including best actress in a drama nominees Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”), Queen Latifah for the HBO movie “Bessie”, Angela Bassett for limited series “American Horror Story” and Cicely Tyson for her guest turn on “How To Get Away With Murder.”

Other acting nominees include David Oyelowo for the limited series “Nightingale”, Anthony Anderson and Don Cheadle for their respective comedy leads in “Black-ish” and “House of Lies”, Uzo Aduba for “Orange Is The New Black”, Khandi Alexander for her guest role on “Scandal”, Andre Braugher for his supporting role in the comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, Keegan-Michael Key for his comedy sketch show “Key & Peele” Niecy Nash for her supporting role in “Getting On”, Tituss Burgess for his supporting comedic role in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” , Michael Kenneth Williams for his supporting dramatic role in “Bessie”, Regina King for “American Crime”, Mo’Nique for her portrayal of Ma Rainey in “Bessie”, Tituss Burgess  and Reg E. Cathey for his guest role on “House Of Cards.”

Additionally, Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley (“12 Years A Slave”) scored big with 10 nominations for his critically-acclaimed ABC series “American Crime”, including Best Limited Series and Writing for a Limited Series.  Additionally, writer/director Dee Rees (“Pariah”) is nominated for writing as well as directing for “Bessie.”

More writing nods went to Key and Jordan Peele for “Key & Peele” and the “Key & Peele Super Bowl Special”.  Key & Peele were also acknowledged in the Short-Form Live Action category for “Key & Peele Presents Van And Mike: The Ascension”.  Beyoncé continues to dominate all media with a nod in the Special Class Program category for “Beyoncé and Jay Z On The Run.”

Astrophysicist-turned-television personality and host Neil deGrasse Tyson was rewarded for his ventures into the entertainment space with two nominations: one as narrator for “Hubble’s Cosmic Journey” and the other for his nascent talk show “Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson.”

The 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on September 20, hosted by Andy Samberg and broadcast live on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

To see a full list of all the nominees, click here.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Writer/Producer John Ridley to Reinvent Marvel Superhero for New ABC Series

Academy Award-winning writer and “American Crime” creator John Ridley (Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

According to ew.com, Oscar-winning writer/producer John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) is teaming up with Marvel to develop a mysterious new TV series.  The deal reportedly involves reinventing an existing Marvel superhero character or property for ABC—but all sides are staying quiet on exactly which title Ridley is adapting.

Ridley is an executive producer of ABC’s acclaimed midseason drama American Crime, which has not yet received a second season renewal. Coming off winning best adapted screenplay for 12 Years a Slave, Ridley is also a writer/producer on the 2016 big-screen update of Ben Hur.

Marvel’s aggressive expansion into television now includes four current series (ABC’s SHIELDAgent Carter—which is on the bubble for a pickup—and Netflix’s Daredevil), plus several confirmed upcoming titles (Netflix’s A.K.A. Jessica JonesLuke Cage, and Iron Fist, followed by the Netflix character mash-up The Defenders). Neither Marvel nor ABC would comment on the Ridley project.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Regina King Joins “American Crime” Cast, Returns to “Big Bang Theory” and will Direct Upcoming Episode of “Scandal”

We’ll be seeing a lot of Regina King during the next season, both in front of and behind the camera.  King has joined the cast of John Ridley’s new ABC drama series, “American Crime,” and will return to CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” to reprise her role.

“American Crime,” which Ridley is writing, directing and executive producing, follows a racially-charged murder case and the trial that follows, as audiences will experience the murder and trial through the eyes of several different people who are, in some way, connected to the events. It’ll frankly tackle matters of race, class and gender politics in the USA.

King will play the devoutly religious sister of one of the series’ key characters, who comes to Modesto in order to help her brother handle a judicial system that she believes is stacked against him.  King will appear in 7 episodes of the new series, with an option for two additional.

As for her return to CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory”… The show is primarily centered on 5 characters living in Pasadena, California: roommates Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, both physicists; Penny, a waitress and aspiring actress who lives across the hall; and Leonard and Sheldon’s equally geeky and socially awkward friends and co-workers, mechanical engineer Howard Wolowitz and astrophysicist Raj Koothrappali.

King plays Mrs. Davis (a role she first played in 2013), who is the head of human resources where the physicists are employed, who previously was responsible for questioning Sheldon after he landed in hot water following an uncomfortable conversation with his sexy assistant, Alex (Margo Harshman).

Meanwhile, behind the camera, King will direct the 16th episode of ABC’s “Scandal” during its fourth season, which will air during the second half of the upcoming 4th season.  This comes after the actress made her feature film directing debut with a TV adaptation of author ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s novel “Let the Church Say Amen” for BET.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via Shadow And Act

Andre 3000 Embodies the Spirit Of Jimi Hendrix In “All Is By My Side” (TRAILER)

andre-3000-jimi-hendrix

Andre 3000 / Jimi Hendrix

Music and movie fans alike have been waiting anxiously to see Andre 3000 star as legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. While the film “All Is By My Side” hits theaters on September 26th, another trailer has been released, theurbandaily.com reports.

“All Is By My Side” follows Hendrix’s life for one year, 1966 to 1967. That was the pivotal year Hendrix went from a backup guitarist at a New York nightspot The Cheetah Club to making a name for himself in the London music scene and finally his breakout moment at Monterey Pop Festival.  The film was written and directed by Oscar winner John Ridley, who is currently executive producing the new drama series “American Crime” for ABC.

Check out the official trailer for “All Is By My Side” below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

 

“12 Years A Slave” Triumphs with Oscars for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress

12-years-a-slave-best-picture

12 Years A Slave topped off its amazing awards-season run by earning the Best Picture Oscar tonight at the 86th Academy Awards. 12 Years director/producer Steve McQueen and producer Brad Pitt accepted the award at the end of a night that also saw writer John Ridley win for Best Adapted Screenplay, and rising star Lupita Nyong’o triumph in the Best Supporting Actress category.  According to Variety.com, McQueen made history by becoming the first black producer to ever win an Academy Award for Best Picture.

The star-studded night also saw an energizing performance of “Happy” by Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams (who danced with Nyong’o, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in the aisles), a brief a cappella version of “Eye on the Sparrow” from Darlene Love during the Best Feature Documentary acceptance speech for 20 Feet From Stardom and Oscar presentations from Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, Tyler Perry, Gabourey Sidibe, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, and the first black man to ever win a Leading Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier.

best-supporting-actress-academy-awards-1One of the biggest highlights of the evening was Nyong’o’s acceptance speech, where she honored those who suffered so she could shine:

Thank you to the Academy for this incredible recognition. It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s. And so I want to salute the spirit of Patsey for her guidance. And for Solomon, thank you for telling her story and your own.

Nyong’o then went on to thank McQueen, co-star and Best Actor nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, her family and her chosen family, before closing with encouragement to children everywhere:

When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid. Thank you.

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