Tiffany Haddish has signed a first-look deal with HBO.
The two-year pact with Haddish and her She Ready production company comes on the heels of a breakout year for the comic, who won a New York Film Critics Circle best supporting actress award for her performance in 2017’s “Girls Trip.” Her book “The Last Black Unicorn,” released last month by Gallery Books, was named a New York Times best seller. Her new stand-up special “Tiffany Haddish: She Ready!” premiered on Showtime last year, and Haddish recently announced 2018 dates for her new stand-up tour.
Haddish will next star opposite Tracy Morgan in TBS’ “The Last OG,” which premieres in April on TBS. She will also star alongside Kevin Hart in Universal’s feature film “Night School,” set to premiere in September.
Among her other upcoming projects are starring roles in New Line’s “The Kitchen” and Universal’s “The Temp,” with Haddish set to serve as executive producer on the latter film. The comic also has “Limited Partners” in development at Paramount, and is set to star in and serve as an exec producer on the project. She recently wrapped production on “The Oath” alongside Ike Barinholtz.
Haddish is in talks to join the ensemble of “The Kitchen,” which is the directorial debut for “Straight Outta Compton” screenwriter Andrea Berloff, who is also writing the script. The film is based on the comic book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle for Vertigo from DC Entertainment. The series has gained a cult following since debuting in 2014 to critical acclaim. The Irish mafia story is set in Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y., in the 1970s. When the FBI comes in and does a sweep of the mob, several men are arrested. Their wives end up taking over and running the business much more viciously than the men ever did.
“The Temp,” which is set to be produced by Will Packer, who also produced the hit comedy “Girls Trip” featuring Haddish’s breakout performance.
Universal acquired the original pitch for “The Temp” from Dana Fox, who will also write the female-driven comedy. Fox will produce alongside Packer who will produce through his Universal-based Will Packer Productions. Will Packer Productions’ James Lopez will also produce and Haddish will serve as executive producer.
Haddish’s other upcoming projects include starring alongside Tracy Morgan in TBS’ “The Last OG,” which will be released in 2018; she recently wrapped production on Universal’s “Night School” opposite Kevin Hart. She also has “Limited Partners” in development with Paramount, which she will star in and serve as an executive producer on the project as well.
Outside of her film and TV projects, she is also set to release her book “The Last Black Unicorn,” which comes out Dec. 5, and just announced 2018 dates for her new stand-up tour “She Ready.”
When comedian Tiffany Haddish was 9, her stepfather tampered with the brakes on her mother’s car, hoping to kill his partner and her four children. Rather than going out with her mom that day, Haddish asked to stay home and look after her younger siblings—sparing her from the horrific accident that left her mother mentally impaired. As the oldest child, Haddish did what she could to help for three years, from tying her mother’s shoes to paying bills, but eventually Haddish and her siblings were placed in foster care.
Haddish used the trauma and tragedy of her upbringing to ignite what is now a blazing comedy career. As a child, the Girls Trip star was teased for being a foster kid, but Haddish has also talked about maintaining a strong sense of self worth in her recent Showtime standup special, She Ready!: From the Hood to Hollywood. “The state of California paid so much money to make sure I don’t die ‘cause they knew I was gonna be special,” Haddish tells her audience. “They knew it. They was like, ‘This one right here, she gonna be a unicorn.’ And they was right. I’m the last black unicorn, bitch!”
Haddish’s ascent in recent years—debuting on NBC’s The Carmichael Show in 2015 and appearing in the 2016 action comedy Keanu and the summer hit Girls Trip—is a testament to her talent and resilience. But her story also offers insight into what it takes for a black woman in comedy to become successful today. Haddish’s rise points to where systemic roadblocks still lie for performers of color, particularly women, when they first enter the business—and how some barriers to entry may be falling as comedy enters a new golden age, with fewer gatekeepers and more platforms for artists to reach their fans.
Even though Girls Trip has a black director and writers, Haddish faced questions about her low profile. Her agent initially told her that studio executives were looking for someone with a bigger name to play her character, Dina. Haddish told her agent to tell them, “I’ve had a name since 1979. Okay? I was born with a name.” In the end, her rare comedic gifts won out, and reviews of Girls Trip regularly singled Haddish out for praise. Continue reading “FEATURE: ‘Girls Trip’ Star Tiffany Haddish’s Remarkable Rise”→
Netflix announced on Thursday that it will produce “Def Comedy Jam 25” to mark the 25th anniversary of the comedy show, to air this fall. “Def Comedy Jam” originally ran from 1992 to 1996 before being revived in 2006. The show, which was produced by Russell Simmons, helped to launch the careers of the likes of Martin Lawrence, Cedric the Entertainer and Sheryl Underwood.
The lineup of performers for the special thus far include: Lawrence, Underwood, Bill Bellamy, Cedric the Entertainer, Dave Chappelle, Mike Epps, Adele Givens, Eddie Griffin, Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Kid Capri, Tracy Morgan, Craig Robinson, JB Smoove, Sommore, Joe Torry and Katt Williams.
On his way to winning a best picture Oscar for “Moonlight,” a film made for a minuscule $1.5 million, writer-director Barry Jenkins took time between awards-season red carpet appearances for a six-city European promotion tour. It was time well spent.
“Moonlight,” about a poor black boy living in the projects of Miami and struggling with his sexuality, wasn’t supposed to be the kind of movie that wins the best picture Oscar. Its modest coming-of-age narrative, unconventional story structure and outsider characters with no mega stars made it, as filmmaker Mark Duplass said recently with admiration, “a bit of a miracle” that it even reached U.S. theaters. Certainly, it’s not the kind of movie that was expected to make money overseas. After all, says a longstanding Hollywood myth, black films don’t travel.
Yet as of Tuesday, “Moonlight” has made $28.6 million at the international box office — more than its $27.5 million domestic take — for a worldwide total of $56.1 million. With the film still in theaters, even more is expected.“This black film is definitely selling overseas,” Jenkins said to The Times on the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, just after he’d returned from Europe.
“Every time there’s a success, it gets swept under the rug,” says Jeff Clanagan, president of Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films, which primarily produces films with African American casts. “It’s almost like there’s an asterisk on it. They chalk it off as an anomaly.”
For 1988’s “Coming to America,” the anomaly was the comedic genius of Eddie Murphy, who “transcended race” when the film grossed $160.6 million internationally for a $288.8 million worldwide take. (Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, Kevin Hart, Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle are other box office champs for whom the “transcended race” label has been applied.)
For 1995’s “Bad Boys” and its 2003 sequel — which together pulled in a combined $210.3 million internationally and $414.7 million worldwide — it was the fact that the film was an action flick, never mind leads Smith, Martin Lawrence and Gabrielle Union. For 2015’s “Straight Outta Compton,” a $40.4 million payoff internationally (and $201.6 million worldwide), it was the popular music of rap group N.W.A.
Even as three-time Oscar nominee “Hidden Figures,” with its predominantly black cast, has so far made $48.8 million internationally — helping to push its $166 million domestic sales to nearly $215 million worldwide and counting — the myth persists.
When asked about the myth, Octavia Spencer, Oscar-nominated for her “Hidden Figures” role, responded simply: “I have two words for you: Will Smith.”
“He was told the same thing [at the beginning of his career] — that he wasn’t going to be taken to promote his film,” she said at the annual pre-Oscars Sistahs Soiree honoring women of color in the industry. “Had he not paid for himself to fly all over the world that very first time, he would not be an international box office star. So they have to start investing and taking black actresses and actors across the world just like they do with unknown white actors. They need to do the same thing for black actors. If you don’t know ’em, why would you go support the film?”
Lionsgate has formed a partnership with Kevin Hart and his Hartbeat Digital to launch the Laugh Out Loud video-on-demand service in the fall.
The new over-the-top service will operate 24-7 and serve as the exclusive home for all content created by Hart outside his theatrical and live touring activities and include original series starring Hart — such as a hidden-camera premium original series in which Hart stars as an undercover Lyft driver.
“Lionsgate has always been a great partner of mine, and I’m more than excited to take our business and creative relationship to new levels,” said Hart. “I understand the direction in which the television business is headed, and I see this big new space toward which audiences are starting to gravitate. I believe that launching this venture together now puts us ahead of the pack.”
Laugh Out Loud will also showcase content curated by Hart along with shows featuring social-media stars and up-and-coming comedians. That will include a series starring social media personality Logan Paul, who generated 300 million video views on Facebook last month along with nearly 4 billion loops on Vine.
Codeblack CEO Jeff Clanagan, who has served as Hart’s business partner for the past decade, has been named president of Laugh Out Loud and president of Hartbeat Digital.
Clanagan told Variety that the idea of forming a digital content partnership with Lionsgate had been in the works for several months as vehicle to leverage Hart’s growing worldwide popularity as a stand-up comedy performer. He performed Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa, for a crowd of 11,000, and was due to appear in Dubai on Friday at a 5,000-seat arena — the final performance in the “What Now” tour.
“Kevin has a worldwide appeal that transcends cultures, particularly in the 18-to-30-year-old demographic,” Clanagan noted. “And they all have smart phones so it makes sense for us to provide them with more comedy content.”
Clanagan also said that the tour, which saw two London shows draw 100,000 attendees, has afforded the Laugh Out venture to start making content deals with up-and-coming comedians from an array of markets.
The alliance will also include Lionsgate teaming with Hart and game developer Fifth Journey to create a social adventure mobile game starring and written in collaboration with Hart. The game will allow players to become comedic rock stars with Hart as their mentor and include touring the country, starring in movies, hosting award shows and more.
Comedian Kevin Hart has found success both on stage and on the big screen. He recently announced that he will soon publish an inspirational memoir appropriately titled, From the Hart.
“My kids know I’m a big deal. They’re very aware,” claims the comedian. “I let them know every day, I say, ‘Look, daddy’s a big deal. Now I’ll have a book out to prove it.”
The book will explore Hart’s childhood, from his difficult upbringing in Philadelphia with a drug-addicted father, to the struggle of starting a career in stand-up, to what motivates him now. According to EW, Hart has the star power to sell 50,000 tickets for one show and gross $100 million worldwide for a comedy tour.
From the Hart is being published via 37 Ink, the Atria Publishing Group imprint that published The Butler. Dawn Davis, vice president of 37 Ink, acquired world rights to Mr. Hart’s book that is scheduled to be published on Father’s Day of 2017.
“I’ve been watching Kevin’s star rise ever since he stole the show in Think Like a Man,” Davis said in a statement. “He not only has a comedic sensibility that is perfectly–pitched for our time, he has a bounty of stories form hi life that are wise, funny, and entertaining.”
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, stars of the upcoming summer film “Central Intelligence,” will team up to host the 2016 MTV Movie Awards, airing Sunday, April 10 at 8 p.m., Variety reports.
Taking a page from Fox’s “Grease Live!,” this year’s 25th anniversary telecast will take place across the Warner Bros. backlot, filming outdoors across multiple locations in a taping on April 9. (“Grease Live!” also taped on the Warner Bros. lot.)
“We want to do a big, brave thing to celebrate movies,” the show’s executive producer Casey Patterson says of filming across the backlot. “We love Kevin and Dwayne for doing big, risky, bold things. Most award shows play it safe. They’re the right guys to take big swings.”
“It’s an honor to be hosting the ‘MTV Movie Awards’ with a guy who’s not only one of the funniest guys on the planet, but who’s often mistaken as my twin, Kevin Hart,” said Johnson. “We live for our fans and promise to make this an epic, historic unforgettable night for them.”
Hart commented, “I love hosting — it’s my thing. Dwayne and I are the perfect team for the epic 25th anniversary show. It’s going to go down.”
Ice Cube and Kevin Hart did it again. “Ride Along 2”, the second installment in what is sure to become a series of “Ride Along” movies, opened in the number-one spot in its debut weekend, taking in an estimated $39.5 million in domestic grosses, according to Variety. “Ride Along 2” also has the distinction of displacing the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” juggernaut from its four-week run at the top, as well as besting critical darling “The Revenant” ($34 million) as it continues to gain momentum from awards season.
Universal spent $40 million re-teaming Ice Cube and Hart for “Ride Along 2,” which finds the bickering police officers working to bring a Miami drug ring to justice.
“It’s a very funny movie,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s domestic distribution chief. “We have a very committed group of filmmakers and our cast has been promoting the heck out of it.”
The first “Ride Along” movie ultimately earned $134.9 million and even though its sequel debuted a few million shy of its predecessor, the audience skewed slightly more female, with women making up 52% of the opening weekend audience, implying the film will have legs as it clearly appeals to both sexes.
Universal Pictures has purchased the script “Humbug” from writers Todd R. Jones and Earl Richey Jones with Ice Cube attached to star and Tim Story to direct, sources confirm to Variety.
The script is a contemporary retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic story of a wealthy real estate mogul who is shown a path to redemption by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Cube will produce alongside Jeff Kwatinetz. Jones & Jones will co-produce.
The film marks another collaboration between Cube and Story that began with the box office hit “Barbershop,” which spawned two two sequels, the third recently wrapped production with Malcolm Lee at the helm. The two also worked on the “Ride Along” series for Universal with the sequel bowing this January with Story directing and Cube and Kevin Hart co-starring.
Cube just produced box-office smash “Straight Outta Compton” and is about to start filming the New Line Comedy “Fist Fight” with Charlie Day.
The Jones brothers’ past credits include “Rio” and “Johnson Family Vacation.”