Tag: Julius Tennon

Viola Davis Stars As Shirley Chisholm in New Movie “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm”

viola-davis-shirley-chisholm-now-113018.pngThe first Black actress to earn a lead dramatic Emmy will bring another pioneering Black woman, Shirley Chisholm, to life on screen.

Deadline reported yesterday (November 29) that Viola Davis will produce and star in “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm.” This will be the “Widows” star’s first project under the first look deal that JuVee Productions, the company she co-heads with husband Julius Tennon, recently signed with Amazon Studios. Davis confirmed the project today (November 30) by retweeting JuVee’s tweet with one of the late Democratic politician’s quotes:

Read more via Viola Davis Stars As Shirley Chisholm in New Movie | Colorlines

Viola Davis’ JuVee Productions Signs Exclusive Feature Production Deal with Amazon Studios

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Viola Davis and her producer husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions has just signed an exclusive first-look feature production deal with Amazon Studios, putting the streaming service in business with one of the most acclaimed and honored thespians of the modern day.

JuVee Productions signed an overall deal with ABC in early 2016, for television development and production. But Davis has been working with Amazon as a producer on the upcoming movie comedy “Troupe Zero,” which co-stars Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan. The film will be released in 2019.

“Amazon Studios is passionate about building a home for both new and established filmmakers of all backgrounds, who share the same vision in telling incredible and engaging human stories,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “Viola and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions brings distinctive, fresh voices and high-quality content to our customers in both theaters and on Prime Video.”

Davis continues to headline the ABC hit “How to Get Away With Murder” and is starring in movies like this fall’s “Widows.”

Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o to Play Mother and Daughter in ‘The Woman King’ at TriStar

(photo via deadline.com)

by Patrick Hipes via deadline.com

TriStar Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to The Woman King, a film inspired by true events that will star Oscar winners Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o. The original story is from Maria Bello, and Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment will produce with Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions, and Bello of Jack Blue Productions.

Based on the true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful West African states in the 18th and 19th centuries, The Woman King tells the story of Nanisca (Davis), general of the all-female military unit known as the Amazons, and her daughter Nawi (Nyong’o), who together fought the French and neighboring tribes who violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.

The Woman King is the powerful true story of an extraordinary mother-daughter relationship,” TriStar Pictures president Hannah Minghella said. “And there’s no-one more extraordinary than Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o to bring them to life.”

Added Schulman: “Black Panther just showed us how the power of imagination and lore could reveal a world without gender and racial stereotypes. The Woman King will tell one of history’s greatest forgotten stories from the real world in which we live, where an army of African warrior women staved off slavery, colonialism and inter-tribal warfare to unify a nation.”

Source: http://deadline.com/2018/03/the-woman-king-movie-viola-davis-lupita-nyongo-tristar-1202307588/

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

Viola Davis’ Production Company Sells Comedy “The Zipcoders” to ABC

Viola Davis The Zipcoders
Viola Davis (photo via variety.com; STEPHEN LOVEKIN/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

Viola Davis is expanding her work behind-the-camera, as she’s put a new comedy series into development with ABC, the network behind her show “How To Get Away With Murder.”

Davis will executive produce the single-cam, half-hour comedy “The Zipcoders” for ABC through her production company JuVee Productions.

Hailing from “Barbershop” screenwriter Marshall Todd, “The Zipcoders,” set in 1968, is about a divorced mother of three who moves her family to the East Side of Austin, Texas, soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in an effort to be closer to her estranged sister. Once there, to the utter bewilderment of friends, family and the community at large, her teenage son forms a rock ‘n’ roll band with his group of friends who aspire to be like The Beatles.

“Zipcoders” is an original idea, which gained traction at JuVee, due to the “humorously iconic” image of a group of African-American teenagers with feathered hair and bell bottoms in the middle of the deep South. Todd became attached to the project, after he did research on the late 1960’s in America and found parallels to the issues our country is dealing with today — politically, racially and musically. He then pitched the family comedy to ABC Studios and the network.

“This project gives me the opportunity to tell a story that, while specific to the African-American experience, doesn’t travel in the usual tropes,” said Todd, who will serve as co-exec producer on the series, in addition to writing. “As a parent, I was inspired to tell a story from the dual perspective of parents and children in a world where the rules are constantly changing. Music has always been a passion of mine and to be able to use it to inform this particular narrative was a provocative challenge. I have found in Viola and the squad at JuVee the perfect co-conspirators dedicated to telling the types of stories that entertain while contributing to the larger cultural conversation.”

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-zipcoders-abc-comedy-juvee-productions-viola-davis-1201901884/

 

Viola Davis Inks Overall Development Deal With ABC Studios

Viola Davis ABC Studios deal
Viola Davis (ROB LATOUR/VARIETY/REX SHUTTERSTOCK)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

On the heels of announcing its overall pact with “Scandal” lead Kerry Washington, ABC is similarly vying more hits from Viola Davis — this time, with the Emmy winner stepping behind the camera.  The “How To Get Away with Murder” star’s production company JuVee Productions has entered into an overall deal with ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios.

Under the new pact, JuVee Productions — which Davis founded with her husband, Julius Tennon — will develop new projects for broadcast, cable, streaming services and digital platforms.

Additionally, JuVee has also hired Bravo’s Andrew Wang to serve as the company’s head of television development and production. At Bravo, Wang was vice president of scripted television development and production and was responsible for the cabler’s first scripted series, comedy “Odd Mom Out,” drama “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” and the upcoming dark comedy “My So-Called Wife.” He was at Bravo for four years.

“We started JuVee because we wanted to see narratives that reflected our multi-ethnic and multifaceted culture,” Davis commented. “We wanted to be a part of classic storytelling, and we didn’t want to wait.”

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/viola-davis-abc-studios-deal-juvee-productions-1201762447/

Viola Davis & Debra Martin Chase Team Up with “Empire” Writer Ayanna Floyd for TNT Drama Inspired by Michigan Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Viola Davis Kym Worthy
Viola Davis (l) and Kym Worthy (r) [image via deadline.com)
article by Nellie Andreeva via deadline.com

TNT is now developing Conviction, a legal drama inspired by the life of Kym Worthy, the chief prosecutor of Wayne County, MI, known as the toughest woman in Detroit.

Chase 1
Debra Martin Chase (photo via deadline.com)

How To Get Away With Murder star Viola Davis is executive producing the project with Debra Martin Chase (Sparkle). Empire co-executive producer Ayanna Floyd is writing the script and executive producing. The project was originally developed at ABC during the 2014-2015 season with another writer. ABC has a legal drama pilot Conviction this season, which is unrelated to this project.

Worthy became the second African-American to serve as a county prosecutor in Michigan when she was appointed chief prosecutor of Wayne County in 2004. She is known for a number of high-profile cases, like filing charges against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and her campaign to clear a massive backlog of 11,000 unprocessed rape test kits in Detroit.

Floyd
Ayanna Floyd (photo via deadline.com)

Davis and and her producing partner Julius Tennon executive produce through their JuVee Productions, Martin Chase through her Martin Chase Prods. Both companies have deals with ABC Studios, which originally developed the project when it was at ABC but is not actively involved in the TNT version. Also executive producing are Floyd as well as Kim Swann and Leah Keith who brought Worthy’s story to Hollywood. Worthy is a consultant.

To read original article, go to: http://deadline.com/2016/03/conviction-legal-drama-kym-worthy-viola-davis-debra-martin-chase-empire-tnt-1201724486/

Viola Davis Covers InStyle Magazine for January; Here are 5 New Reasons To Love Her

Viola Davis on InStyle

Viola Davis is having the best year ever. The Emmy Award-winning actress will bring in the New Year as the cover model for the January 2016 issue of InStyle Magazine.

We love Viola’s transparency during her interview. She says that she’s nothing like her cutthroat character Annalise Keating on How To Get Away With Murder. Instead she enjoys going to Target, wearing her natural hair and “going to space” with her gorgeous 5 year old daughter Genesis.

Here are five new things we didn’t know about Viola:

1. Off screen her wardrobe isn’t glamorous:  “If I were to compare my style to Annalise Keating, I would say that I have absolutely no style,” she says with a laugh “Annalise Keating is an Alexander McQueen kinda Max Mara girl. That’s not me. I have a five year old!”

2. She’s about to get married for the third time! When she first wed fellow and actor-producer Julius Tennon 13 years ago, Viola wore a simple skirt from Express. A few years later they exchanged vows again, and she wore a more traditional dress. For their latest upcoming vow renewal, Davis is wearing a custom dress by Carmen Marc Valvo

3. She and her daughter are actually astronauts:  “We go into space. We explore different planets,” Davis says of the game Genesis is most currently fond of. “This ship is in danger. We almost died at one point. We lost oxygen.”

4. She knows how to turn down and relax:  “I am addicted to spas,” she says. “If we go to a hotel, we’ll be the only people in that spa for hours. We’ll start at 5 in the morning sometimes.”

5. She’s empowered by her natural beauty: “What’s released me most from the fear of aging is self-awareness,” she says. “I’ve never determined my value based on my looks or anything physical. I’ve been through a lot in life, and what has gotten me through is strength of character and faith.”

article by Zon D’Amour via hellobeautiful.com

Viola Davis Producing ABC Drama Based on Michigan Prosecutor Kym Worthy

Viola Davis and Kym Worthy
Viola Davis and Kym Worthy

”How To Get Away With Murder” star Viola Davis is about to step behind the camera for her next project… another ABC drama, about another powerful female lawyer.

Davis and her producing partner Julius Tennon have teamed with producer Debra Martin Chase (“Sparkle”) for “Conviction,” a legal drama inspired by the life of Kym Worthy, the chief prosecutor of Wayne County, MI, known as the toughest woman in Detroit, reports Deadline.com.

Worthy became the second African-American to serve as a county prosecutor in Michigan when she was appointed as chief prosecutor of Wayne County in 2004. She is known for a number of high-profile cases, like filing charges against Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and her campaign to clear a massive backlog of 11,000 unprocessed rape test kits in Detroit.

The script is being written by Jason Wilborn (“Damages”), with Jeff Melvoin (“Army Wives”) on board as show runner.  Davis and Tennon are executive producing through their JuVee Productions, and Martin Chase through her Martin Chase Prods. ABC Studios, where Martin Chase Prods. has an overall deal, is the studio.

Also executive producing are Kim Swann and Leah Keith who brought Worthy’s story to Hollywood, and Melvoin, while Wilborn serves as co-executive producer and Martin Chase Prods.’ Charles Pugliese as producer. Worthy will serve as a consultant.

In addition to “Conviction,” Swann is developing several projects with Worthy as her producing partner. Keith is adapting her novel “A Rented Life” into a feature. At ABC and ABC Studios, Martin Chase Prods. also has a limited series in development based on the book Catherine The Great by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Massie with a script by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Cristofer (“Gia”).

article via eurweb.com

After Years of Supporting Roles, Viola Davis Relishes Lead Role in ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder”, Hopes to Inspire New Generation of Black Female Actors

Academy Award-nominated actor Viola Davis (GRAEME MITCHELL FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES)

“Even when I get the fried-chicken special of the day, I have to dig into it like it’s filet mignon,” Viola Davis said. She was speaking not of meals, but of roles. During her 30-year career as an actress, Davis has played a crack-addicted mother (“Antwone Fisher”), the mother of an abducted child (“Prisoners”) and the mother of James Brown (“Get On Up”). Her characters often serve to “hold up the wall” of the narrative, she said, like the empathetic best friend in “Eat, Pray, Love” or the kindly stranger in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Or the kindly mental-institution psychiatrist in “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” the kindly rape-treatment counselor in “Trust” or the kindly medium in “Beautiful Creatures.”

“I always got the phone call that said: ‘I have a great project for you. You’re going to be with, hypothetically, Vanessa Redgrave, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening,’ ” she said, sitting in the living room of her San Fernando Valley home, barefoot on the couch in a gray T-shirt and leggings, her hair wrapped under a black turban. “Then I get the script, and I have a role that lasts for a page or two.”

Yet over and over again, Davis has made these marginalized characters memorable. She earned her first Oscar nomination for eight minutes of screen time as the mother of a possible victim of molestation in “Doubt.” Four years later, she spent months conceiving an intricate back story to enliven Aibileen Clark, a housemaid with a sixth-grade education, in “The Help.” Davis earned her second Oscar nomination but soon enough returned to playing yet another government functionary or military officer. “I have been given a lot of roles that are downtrodden, mammy-ish,” she said. “A lot of lawyers or doctors who have names but absolutely no lives. You’re going to get your three or four scenes, you’re not going to be able to show what you can do. You’re going to get your little bitty paycheck, and then you’re going to be hungry for your next role, which is going to be absolutely the same. That’s the truth.”

This fall, Davis, who is 49, is finally getting her shot at the anti-mammy. As the star of “How to Get Away With Murder,” a new series on ABC, Davis plays Annalise Keating, a flinty, stylish defense lawyer and law professor who employs her top students to help her win cases. After those students become entangled in a murder plot on their Ivy League campus, viewers will wonder whether Keating herself was involved in the crime. Davis plays Keating as cerebral and alluring, a fierce taskmaster who uses her sex appeal to her advantage, with a handsome husband and a lover on the side. It’s the kind of woman, in other words, that she has never gotten to play.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.08.36 PM
In ‘‘How to Get Away with Murder,’’ Viola Davis plays a criminal-law professor who solves cases with her top students. The series debuts on Sept. 25 on ABC. (NICOLE RIVELLI / ABC)

“How to Get Away With Murder,” which includes Shonda Rhimes among its executive producers, will be shown on Thursday nights after Rhimes’s two hit series, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” a generous lead-in that the network hopes will result in an instant hit. But that will depend, in part, on whether viewers embrace Davis — “a woman of color, of a certain age and a certain hue,” as she says — in her new capacity. “I don’t see anyone on TV like me in a role like this. And you can’t even mention Halle Berry or Kerry Washington,” she told me, referring to two African-American stars with notably lighter skin.

Davis and her ensemble cast are completing 15 episodes in five months, or a new episode about every 10 days. Our first meeting took place at 9 a.m. on a Sunday, one of her rare days off. As her 4-year-old daughter, Genesis, played in the kitchen nearby, Davis talked about Keating’s nuances and dynamism. After years of stock characters, she was thrilled to play a real protagonist, a fully developed, conflicted, somewhat mysterious woman. “It’s what I’ve had my eye on for so long,” she said. “It’s time for people to see us, people of color, for what we really are: complicated.”

Black actors have always had a tough time getting their due in Hollywood. After Sidney Poitier became the first African-American to win the Academy Award for best actor, in 1964, it would take almost four decades before Berry won for best lead actress. These days, when the paucity of strong black roles prompts suggestions of racism, film executives often cite economics in their defense. The American movie market makes up less than a third of global box-office receipts, and films with predominantly black casts typically don’t earn as much money overseas. “The Help,” which made $170 million in the United States, took in just $42 million internationally. By comparison, “Guardians of the Galaxy” made $556 million worldwide this summer, almost half of it from ticket sales abroad. Last year, the poster for “12 Years a Slave” in the Italian market featured images of either Michael Fassbender or Brad Pitt rather than its many black stars.

Films with largely black casts tend to be made on low budgets and marketed specifically to black audiences. In January, Sony’s Screen Gems scored with “About Last Night,” a romantic comedy with an all-black ensemble led by Kevin Hart: It cost $12 million and took in $49 million. But the conventional wisdom in the industry is that big-budget films like sweeping historical dramas, say, or special-effects-driven thrillers need a global audience to turn a profit. With a few notable exceptions (Denzel Washington, Will Smith), black actors are usually relegated to supporting roles. Black actresses, especially, face another hurdle: the darker-complected they are, the narrower a range of parts they are offered. Earlier this year, Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Oscar for her role in “12 Years a Slave,” said that her “night-shaded skin” had always been “an obstacle.”

Continue reading “After Years of Supporting Roles, Viola Davis Relishes Lead Role in ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder”, Hopes to Inspire New Generation of Black Female Actors”

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