I’ve always had this sort of love/hate relationship with the month of September. Part of me feels like September is just a pushy month with attitude. It represents the end of summer fun with a blaring nudge toward back to business, back to school… back to get up and get stuff done!
But if I’m going to keep it positive, September also represents the beginning of beautiful, new and exciting things… and hopefully if you’re in a hot state – some cooler weather. Here are few fun, interesting things happening this month. Enjoy!
THE PERFECT GUY September 14; PG-13 Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy & Morris Chestnut star in “The Perfect Guy”
Picking the right partner is tough and when a budding relationship ends the “perfect guy” becomes enraged with the woman that ended it – setting his sights on the perfect revenge.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CikoxQ4ytI4
THE CAPTIVE September 18; PG-13 David Oyelowo and Kate Mara star in “The Captive” based on an inspiring true story.
A hostage (Kate Mara) uses Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” to convince her desperate captor (David Oyelowo) to put his life on the path to redemption. Watch the trailer here: http://www.captivethemovie.com
AUDRA MCDONALD & AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE September 1 & September 3 Hollywood Bowl Los Angeles, CA
After a scene stealing turn in the Universal comedy Trainwreck, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James is taking his talents to Burbank. He has partnered in a content creation deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment that will put his SpringHill Entertainment banner on the studio track to generate content in TV, movies and digital. Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros, James and his SpringHill cofounder Maverick Carter are calling the arrangement unprecedented.
“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment,” said Tsujihara. “The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere. We’re excited to welcome LeBron and Maverick to the Warner Bros. family and look forward to partnering on incredible projects that will connect with consumers across a variety of platforms.” Said James: “Connecting with my fans and telling meaningful stories have always been my passion. In everything I’ve done, from Nike commercials to Uninterrupted and Survivor’s Remorse, it’s always about connecting with people of all ages and providing unique content they can all enjoy. And I’ve always loved movies, which makes Warner Bros. the ultimate partner to help us continue to push the envelope. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.”
James had been courted by several studios before he made his splashy acting turn in the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck, opposite Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Among those projects that had heat at one time or another was Ballers, a film that had Kevin Hart poised to play the brother of an NBA superstar (James), who after living in his sibling’s shadow gets a chance to prove himself at a basketball camp operated by his bro.
There is a long record of basketball stars who’ve tried to transition to movies and TV. Most of it has ended in futility. Michael Jordan made a splash in “Space Jam,” and while he certainly had the poise and good looks to go further, he seemed to lose interest. Shaquille O’Neal had a few forgettable onscreen turns that included “Steel” and “Kazaam”, Julius Erving had “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.” Ray Allen got strong notices starring opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s “He Got Game.” Magic Johnson had a short lived late night talk show. Then there is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who made two of the most noteworthy acting turns by a hoops star, shining as an airline pilot in the Zucker Brothers spoof “Airplane!,” and squaring off against Bruce Lee in that actor’s final film, “Game of Death.” Jabbar also developed projects as a producer, and that is where James can make a mark. SpringHill’s output so far includes Disney XD’s inspirational series Becoming, the Starz’ scripted comedy Survivor’s Remorse; Uninterrupted, the multimedia platform for unfiltered athlete content hosted on Turner digital platform Bleacher Report, and an upcoming primetime game show for NBC.
According to Variety.com, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has made a concrete push for diversity, sending membership invitations to 322 individuals, including a healthy number of people who, if they accept, can help change the organization’s primarily white male demographics.
Among the invitees are “Selma” actor David Oyelowo, “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights” actor Gugu Mbatha-Raw, actor Kevin Hart, “Set It Off” and “Italian Job” director F. Gary Gray, “Best Man” director Malcolm D. Lee, “Amazing Grace” and “Beat Street” director Stan Lathan, “Selma”casting director Aisha Coley, Dreamworks executive Mellody Hobson, and “Frozen” animator Marlon West. The Academy has been reaching out to women, foreign-born artists and people of various races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.
Accusations of Academy bigotry surfaced yet again in January when the list of Oscar nominees included Caucasians in all 20 acting categories, and few women or racial minorities among the other categories. Director Ava DuVernay and actor Oyelowo of “Selma” had seemed like strong contenders, giving many people hopes of breakthroughs. After initial anger at the Academy, activists began to shift their protests to industry hiring practices.
The Academy last year sent 271 invitations, with 276 in 2013. For the years between 2004 and 2012, the average was 133. There is no guarantee that all will join, but it’s rare for people to decline. The Academy board voted on the list Tuesday, after recommendations from its membership committee.
CEO Dawn Hudson and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs have been pushing to broaden the organization’s makeup. Last year, Boone Isaacs told Variety that the 2014 new-member list “is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. … The membership is becoming more and more a reflection of the world at large.”
Hudson and Boone Isaacs always stress that the outreach does not means a change in standards. Each branch has strict requirements on eligibility based on industry tenure and credits. As of the most recent tally for 2014 voting, the Academy had 6,124 voting members. The “new voices” clearly constitute a tiny fraction of the group. But AMPAS officials are hoping that it can help can make a difference.
And as June 24-July 2 balloting is under way for board members, exactly one-third of the board are women: 17 out of 42. But it could get closer to 50-50 parity with the new crop, which includes a number of racial minorities and women among this year’s board contenders.
Production has begun in Boston on the action comedy “Central Intelligence” for New Line Cinema and Universal Pictures. The film, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, will be directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, director of the hit comedies “We’re the Millers” and “Dodgeball.”
The story follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Johnson), coming home for his high school reunion. Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former “big man on campus” (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days. But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than he can count.
“Central Intelligence” will also star Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (“Gone Baby Gone”) as CIA Agent Harris; and Danielle Nicolet (TV’s “The Game”) as Maggie, the wife and high school sweetheart of Hart’s BMOC. Thurber will direct from a screenplay by Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen and Sean Anders & John Morris. The film will be produced by Scott Stuber (“Ted”), Peter Principato (TV’s “Black-ish”), Paul Young (“Black-ish”) and Michael Fottrell (“Furious Seven”). Ed Helms, who previously worked with Thurber on “We’re the Millers,” will serve as executive producer.
Comedian Kevin Hart has teamed up with the United Negro College Fund to award four Philadelphia high school seniors $50,000 scholarships for their stellar academic performance.
Hart selected the students himself as a way to reward them for their high GPA’s and to alleviate some of the financial stress that a college education can cause.
“This is me stepping up to the plate and saying what you’re doing is dope,” Philly.com reports Hart saying. “You’re dope. You’ve got the opportunity to be the dopest of all dopetivity.”
The Philadelphia native posted a message on his Instagram Saturday congratulating the young scholars saying, “I love my city and I will continue to put on for my city…Congrats to the 4 seniors that I chose. Now go be great!!!!”
This isn’t the first time Hart has used his celebrity wealth and platform to give back to the next generation of young leaders. Last year, the funnyman donated $50,000 to Texas Southern University’s band after hearing that the Tom Joyner Foundation was raising money to help the band see TSU alumnus Michael Strahan inducted into the Football Hall of Fame.
The four winners of Hart’s scholarship will also be flown to Atlanta for the UNCF’s “An Evening of Stars” event hosted by Black-ish star Anthony Anderson. The show will air on BET April 26.
Usher and Missy Elliott were both added to the Essence Festival lineup. This comes after a first round of entertainers were chosen, according to the Singersroom.
Elliott and Usher are joining R&B/soul artists Mary J. Blige,Erykah Badu, Floetry, India.Arie, Elle Varner, Kelly Price, Tweet, Tank, Raheem DeVaughn and many more who have been confirmed for the 21st annual celebration.
Hip-hop artists Kendrick Lamar, Common, Slick Rick, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh and Mystikal were also confirmed.
Comedian Kevin Hart is headlining the “Now Playing” Concert on the first night. The festival will be on July 2 – July 5 in New Orleans, La.
“On the heels of the ESSENCE Festival’s epic 20th anniversary celebration in 2014, we’re delighted to announce a selection of the best artists and biggest names in entertainment who will take the stage at the Superdome this summer,” Essence President Michelle Ebanks said in a press release.
“From first-time Festival performer Kendrick Lamar to return appearances from fan favorites like Kevin Hart, Common and Mary J. Blige, the ESSENCE Festival offers the definitive entertainment and cultural experience for our passionate ESSENCE community every Fourth of July weekend,” she added.
Following the success of Sony’s “Jump Street” franchise, New Line plans to investigate its own buddy action-comedy, enlisting two of Hollywood’s hottest stars: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The duo will star in “Central Intelligence,” with “We’re the Millers” filmmaker Rawson Marshall Thurber directing the movie.
Scott Stuber will produce through his Bluegrass Films banner, along with Peter Principato and Paul Young of Principato-Young Entertainment. “The Hangover” star Ed Helms is executive producing.
The story begins with a class reunion approaching, as a former high school sports star turned accountant (Hart) is contacted by a classmate (Johnson) who was bullied and humiliated back in the day. The “loser” that the accountant remembers is now a CIA contract killer who ropes him into helping foil a plot to sell classified military secrets.
The original “Central Intelligence” writers are Ike Barinholtz and Dave Stassen, with Sean Anders and John Morris writing a subsequent draft and Thurber taking another pass on the latest script.
New Line plans to begin shooting in the spring with Sam Brown and Michael Disco overseeing. Beau Bauman is managing for Bluegrass.
New Line, based at Warner Bros., has enjoyed success through previous projects with both Thurber and Johnson, and Johnson has a number of jobs lined up at the studio — he is currently attached to return for two more “Journey to the Center of the Earth” sequels and will play Black Adam in superhero pic “Shazam.” He is also set to star in disaster film “San Andreas,” which bows next summer.
The movie gives New Line the opportunity to team two of the biggest names in their respective genres in one film. Hart has enjoyed a lucrative year with both “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man Too” striking box office gold. Hart recently finished filming the “Ride Along” sequel and has “The Wedding Ringer” for Screen Gems set to open on Jan. 16, followed by “Get Hard” with Will Ferrell for Warner Bros., which will open March 27.
Johnson has shown his versatility in his ability to move from action-heavy movies to comedies with ease, and “Central Intelligence” looks set to combine both genres. The star’s most recent pic was “Hercules,” which has grossed $242 million at the worldwide box office, and he can next be seen in “Fast and Furious 7,” which bows in April. On the small screen, Johnson will executive produce and star in “Ballers,” a half-hour comedy that HBO recently picked up to series.
As GBN reported last month, Chris Rock’s new film Top Five sparked a bidding frenzy at the Toronto International Film Festival, with Paramount Pictures emerging as the winner for distribution rights to the tune of $12.5 million. Last week, the studio dropped the first trailer. Written, directed by, and starring Rock, Top Five tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.
Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, Cedric The Entertainer, J.B. Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Leslie Jones, Michael Che, and Jay Pharoah also star.
The movie is set for a limited release on December 5, going wide a week later on December 12.
Comedy Central’s The Minority Report With Larry Wilmore has found a head writer.
Robin Thede has been tapped to lead Larry Wilmore‘s upcoming late-night show, which replaces The Colbert Report in January when Stephen Colbert segues to CBS’ Late Show.
Thede was most recently head writer on syndicated daytime talker The Queen Latifah Show and also wrote for Chris Rock when he hosted the 2014 BET Awards, as well as the NAACP Image Awards. She was previously a writer on BET’s satirical comedy Real Husbands of Hollywood,which starred Kevin Hart, Boris Kodjoe and Nick Cannon for the first two seasons.
A Second City and Improv Olympic alumna, Thede’s sketch/improv credits includeI n the Flow With Affion Crockett,Mike Epps‘ sketch comedy series Funny Bidness and Clunkers. She has appeared in BET’s Second Generation Wayans, Fox’s Goodwin Games, TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland, UPN’s All of Us and Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, in addition to the Marlon Wayans film A Haunted House.
The Minority Report,like the Daily Show and The Colbert Report, aims to provide a comedic look at news, current events and pop culture from different perspectives not typically seen on television.
The news comes three months after former The Daily Show showrunner Rory Albanese was tapped to head up the 11:30 p.m. show, reuniting him with Daily Show corespondent Wilmore. Jon Stewart also serves as an executive producer. Wilmore, a veteran producer in his own right, transitioned from his duty as executive producer/showrunner on ABC’s black-ish, which earned a full-season order this week, in September to focus on launching Minority Report.