Tag: “Master of None”

‘The Chi’ Creator Lena Waithe Sets First-Look Deal at Showtime for Hillman Grad Productions

Lena Waithe
Emmy Winner Lena Waithe (CREDIT: JORDAN STRAUSS/INVISION/AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

by Joe Otterton via Variety.com

Lena Waithe has signed a first-look deal with Showtime, the premium cabler announced Tuesday. Under the deal, Waithe will develop comedy and drama projects for Showtime that she will both write and produce through her company Hillman Grad Productions.

“I have been a fan of Showtime for as long as I can remember,” said Waithe. “They make shows that most networks wouldn’t touch and they’ve never been afraid of taking risks. I look forward to introducing my Showtime family to fresh and exciting new voices. I want to make content that will challenge audiences and take them places they never thought TV could go. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Waithe most recently created and executive produces the Showtime drama “The Chi,” which was renewed for a second season in January.

“We fell in love with Lena’s voice when we ordered her pilot for ‘The Chi’ three years ago, and we have watched in awe at her powerful impact on our industry and our culture,” said Gary Levine, Showtime’s president of programming. “Lena is a creative force of nature and we are delighted that the force will be with us as she makes Showtime her creative home.”

“The Chi” was Showtime’s biggest launch for a drama series in two years and grew its audience in consecutive weeks.

The debut of that series came on the heels of Waithe winning the Emmy for outstanding writing in a comedy series for the “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving” that she co-wrote. The episode adapted Waithe’s personal experience as a queer black woman coming out to herself and her family into the character of Denise, whom Waithe played.

It was recently announced that her latest script, “Queen & Slim,” will go into production in January starring Daniel Kaluuya for Universal. Waithe also serves as executive producer and writer of the upcoming series “Twenties” at TBS.

Her producing credits include the films “Step Sisters” and “Dear White People,” which later became a Netflix series in which she guest starred. She was also named one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People of 2018.

Source: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/lena-waithe-the-chi-showtime-deal-1202882463/

Daniel Kaluuya to Star in Romantic Drama ‘Queen and Slim’ From Writer/Producer Lena Waithe and Director Melina Matsoukas

by Dave McNary via Variety.com

“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya is set to lead the independent romance drama “Queen & Slim,” written by Lena Waithe.  “Insecure” and “Master of None” helmer Melina Matsoukas is making her feature directorial debut.

Waithe, known for her work on “Master of None” and “The Chi,” wrote the script based on an original idea and treatment from bestselling author James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces”) and a story by Frey and Waithe. “Queen & Slim” will go into pre-production this October with production commencing in January. Matsoukas and Waithe are still searching for a fresh face for the role of Queen.

“Queen & Slim” is an exploration of America’s social and political climate through the lens of a genre-defying love story. The film centers on a black man and black woman who go on a first date that goes awry after the two are pulled over by a police officer at a traffic stop. They kill the police officer in self-defense and rather than turn themselves in, they go on the run.

Waithe is producing the film through her company, Hillman Grad Productions, along with Matsoukas’ production company De La Revolución Films and Frey’s 3BlackDot. Andrew Coles and Michelle Knudsen are also producing. “To me, this is protest art,” said Waithe. “It’s about being black and trying to fall in love in a world that’s burning down around you.”

Matsoukas said, “It’s a film that defines black love as a revolutionary act. It shows that our union is the greatest weapon against the assault on black people in America.”

“Queen & Slim” will be distributed by Universal Pictures worldwide with eOne handling distribution in select territories including the U.K. and Canada. The film will be released in North America on Nov. 27, 2019.

This is the first film greenlit under Makeready’s recently announced distribution deal with Universal. eOne is Makeready’s lead investor. Brad Weston’s production company, Makeready, is financing the film, along with 3BlackDot.

Kaluuya, who received a best actor nomination at the Oscars for “Get Out,” most recently appeared as W’Kabi in “Black Panther.” In 2017, Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win a comedy writing Emmy for the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None.”

Mastoukas is a two-time Grammy Award winner for her “We Found Love” and Beyonce’s “Formation” music videos.

To read more: https://variety.com/2018/film/news/daniel-kaluuya-romance-queen-and-slim-1202878861/

Emmy Award-Winning Actor/Writer/Producer Lena Waithe Covers April Issue Of ‘Vanity Fair’

by Danielle Jennings via hellobeautiful.com

The last year has been a whirlwind for actress/writer/producer/creator Lena Waithe. After making history by being the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (for the Netflix hit Master of None,) creating the new Showtime hit series The Chi and co-starring in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Ready Player One. Waithe is living her best life and now she can add Vanity Fair cover girl to the list.

You might as well get used to seeing and hearing about Lena Waithe for years to come, as the young Hollywood power player is breaking down boundaries and providing top-tier work with each project. As she covers the April 2018 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Waithe gets candid about her career, her future and being a queer POC.

Excerpts from Lena Waithe x Vanity Fair interview:

[On how life has changed since her Emmy win]: “How has the Emmy changed me? It got me all these meetings that I go in and say I’m too busy to work with you—you should have hollered at me. You can take my call when I call you about this black queer writer over here who’s got a dope pilot, or this person over here who’s got really cool ideas, or this actress who’s really amazing but nobody’s seen her.”

[On being a black writer in Hollywood]: “The hardest thing about being a black writer in this town is having to pitch your black story to white execs,” she says. “Also, most of the time when we go into rooms to pitch, there’s one token black executive that sometimes can be a friend and sometimes can be a foe. I wonder if they think it makes me more comfortable, if that makes me think that they’re a woke network or studio because they’ve got that one black exec. It feels patronizing. I’m not against a black exec. I want there to be more of them.”

[On being a black gay woman in Hollywood]: “Being black and gay, having dreadlocks, having a certain kind of swag, and dressing the way I do,” she explains, she is sometimes told by certain well-meaning admirers or fashion wannabes, “ ‘That’s dope, you’re cool.’ I don’t feel validated by that. . . . I don’t want to be White. I don’t want to be straight. I don’t want to blend in. . . . I try to wear queer designers who happen to be brown and makin’ shit.”

In addition to her other projects, Waithe also just got the greenlight for her TBS series Twenties which is loosely based on her early years in Los Angeles and tells the stories of three black women making their way in Hollywood.

Source: https://hellobeautiful.com/2987441/lena-waithe-covers-april-issue-of-vanity-fair/

Essence Magazine to Honor ‘Game-Changers’ Haddish, Waithe, Among Others at Black Women in Hollywood Awards

Tiffany Haddish is one of four women being honored at the March 1, 2018 event in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File) (Associated Press)
by Associated Press via washingtonpost.com

NEW YORK — “Girls Trip” changed the game for Tiffany Haddish, and now she’s being honored as one of Essence Magazine’s “game-changers” at its annual “Black Women in Hollywood” awards.

“Girls Trip” was one of last year’s big hits and made Haddish a breakout star. The comedian is one of four women being honored at the March 1 event in Beverly Hills, California.

“The Chi” creator and “Master of None” star Lena Waithe will also be celebrated; she became the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing last year.

Danai Gurira of “The Walking Dead” stars in the upcoming “Black Panther.” Gurira also created the Tony-nominated “Eclipsed,” among other works. Tessa Thompson broke new ground in her role in last fall’s superhero hit “Thor.”

Essence magazine editor Vanessa De Luca says the honorees are “raising their voices to benefit all women.”

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/celebrities/essence-honors-game-changers-haddish-waithe-among-others/2018/02/06/54083e84-0b46-11e8-998c-96deb18cca19_story.html?utm_term=.ad9ee8c26f95

Donald Glover, Lena Waithe and Sterling K. Brown Make Emmy Awards History

Emmy Winners Donald Glover, Sterling K. Brown and Lena Waithe (photos via vibe.com)

by Camille Augustin via vibe.com

At the 69th edition of the Emmy Awards, there was more diversity among nominees, and therefore winners, than there has been in previous years. Compelling actor Sterling K. Brown took home the hardware for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his role in NBC’s This Is Us. According to Entertainment Weekly, Brown is the first black actor to win the prize since Andre Braugher in 1998 for his role in Homicide: Life on the Street. During his backstage speech, Sterling reflectively acknowledged this achievement. “When I first got to [NYU] there was a poster of Gideon’s Crossing above the Public Theater, so I would see [Braugher’s] face all the time when I left my apartment to go to school,” he said, per The Ringer. “So, I’m bugging out. I never thought that this was a possibility, and to be standing here 19 years after him! I wanna represent.”

Another epic win went to Donald Glover, who became the first black director to garner the Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. For his brilliant acting in Atlanta, the “Redbone” artist (as Childish Gambino) became the first black performer to join the legion of comedic outstanding lead actors. The achievements kept pouring in as actress/screenwriter Lena Waithe went down in history as the first black woman to win Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Master of None. She also won the hearts of the audience and viewers with her motivating acceptance speech to the LGBTQIA community.

To read more, go to: Sterling K. Brown, Lena Waithe, Donald Glover Make Emmys History