Uptown Ventures Group, the parent company of UPTOWN Magazine, announced today they will honor award-winning television and film actress Nia Long at their annual “UPTOWN HONORS HOLLYWOOD” Pre-Oscar Gala, presented by Lexus and hosted by comedian Chris Spencer. The event will take place on Thursday, February 25 at Lure, in Hollywood, CA.
The evening will pay tribute to Long’s career including her memorable roles in John Singleton’s critically-acclaimed film, Boyz n the Hood, family comedy dramaSoul Food, romantic drama Love Jonesand comedy drama The Best Man. Long has won three NAACP Image Awards, hosted several awards shows including “Black Girls Rock” and the “Trumpet Awards,” and has also been honored by PETA.
“We are excited to celebrate the accomplishments of our friend, the talented Nia Long. Her career continues to flourish and we have supported and been a part of her Hollywood journey from the beginning. This evening will salute her many past, present and future works and contributions to the entertainment industry,” said Len Burnett, Co-CEO and Chief Revenue Officer, UPTOWN Ventures Group.
Past honorees have included Malcolm D. Lee, Will Packer, Salim Akil, Lee Daniels, Ava DuVernay, as well as Reggie Hudlin and Warrington Hudlin.
ABC has picked up multi-camera comedy Uncle Bucktoseries, Deadline.com reports. The sitcom, starring Mike Epps and Nia Long, may air as a midseason replacement. Written by Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley, the series centers on Uncle Buck (Mike Epps), a fun-loving but irresponsible guy who needs a job and a place to stay. By happy coincidence, his brother’s nanny has just quit and his brother and sister-in-law need his help. James Lesure, Iman Benson, Sayeed Shahidi and Aalyrah Caldwell co-star.
Cragg and Bradley executive produce with Will Packer, and Korin Huggins and Phil Traill co-executive produce. This is the second series order for feature producer (“Think Like A Man”, “Ride Along”) Packer. In his first TV development season, he scored two comedy pilots through his Universal TV-based Will Packer Prods., People Are Talking at NBC and Uncle Buck at ABC. Both have now been given series orders.
Mike Epps has been cast in the title role in Uncle Buck, ABC‘s single-camera comedy pilot based on the classic John Hughes film starring John Candy. Also cast in the project, from Universal TV and Will Packer Prods., is Nia Long.
Like the movie, the series adaptation, written by Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley, centers on Buck Russell (Epps), a childish man who learns how to be an adult by taking care of his brother Will’s kids in a very childish way. Long will play Will’s strong-willed and smart wife.
The new Uncle Buck TV remake (there was a short-lived 1990s Uncle Buck CBS series starring Kevin Meaney) had been conceived with Buck as African American, giving the format a new twist. Packer is known for producing hit feature comedy franchises with Black leads, like Ride Along and Think Like A Man. On ABC, Uncle Buck would be a suitable companion for another single-camera African American family comedy, Black-ish.
With past honorees like actresses Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long, radio personality Angie Martinez, and broadcaster Soledad O’Brien, the goal of WEEN is to lift up women who aspire to work in the entertainment business, while awarding those who have made great strides. WEEN’s co-founder and chair, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, remembers the first moment when she felt she simply had no choice but to empower women.
“Russell Simmons, Common, Dr. Ben Chavis, and Kevin Liles were guests on Oprah in 2006. There was an audience of women and from satellite they brought in women from Spelman talking about the misogyny in the entertainment biz and the Nelly “Tip Drill” video,” she says. “I felt like I had this huge responsibility to do something. I didn’t know what ‘do something’ meant. But I knew I was too close and too involved to be silent.”
Butterfield-Jones set out to make a difference. Inviting 40 women of power to a rooftop in New York to discuss issues pertaining to women in the business, the turnout more than doubled expectations: 121 women showed up to support, collaborate, and speak up. The success continued. “At the first major WEEN event at the Hammerstein Ballroom, I was super nervous. And when I arrived I saw a line of girls, thousands down 34th Street. And it was another aha moment,” says Butterfield, who served in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011 as deputy director of public affairs for International Trade. “Cause this wasn’t just something we thought could work and thought was needed. The evidence was here. Young women were crying for support and mentorship.”
Fresh off the success of Best Man Holiday, 43-year-old actress Nia Long has landed a new starring role on WEtv’s first original scripted series. According to Deadline, the mother of two has joined the cast of The Divide, a legal thriller centered around District Attorney Adam Page, played by Damon Gupton, “who uncovers new evidence that prompts the re-investigation of a sensational murder case.” Long will play the DA’s hard-charging wife named Billie Page.
Sources say production for Long’s new show is currently underway in Toronto.
Although Thor: The Dark World hung on to the No. 1 spot at the box office this weekend, the big story was a stellar opening for The Best Man Holiday, which trounced all expectations to debut with a studio-estimated $30.6-million. Disney’s 3-D sequel Thor: the Dark World took in a solid $38.5-million, which represented an expected 55% drop from its opening weekend when it grossed $86 million.
The Best Man Holiday received a coveted average grade of A+ from moviegoers, according to market research firm CinemaScore. That means it joins an elite club of films that have enjoyed long and fruitful box office runs, including Argo, 42, The Help, The King’s Speech, The Blind Side and Titanic. Going into the weekend, the distributor Universal Pictures projected that The Best Man Holiday would take in a modest $17 million, while prerelease audience surveys indicated the film would start off with around $23 million.
“There’s no crystal ball in guessing this stuff,” said Nikki Rocco, Universal’s president of distribution. “It was fair to think this film— where 87% of the audience was African American—would open in the high teens.” That it nearly doubled that estimate is “a phenomenal result,” said Rocco. “I would never have thought in my most non-lucid moment to expect this — the picture only cost $17-million.” Thanks to the A+ CinemaScore, Rocco says she believes the film will eventually reach a broader audience.
The Best Man Holiday, which is about a group of friends gathering for Christmas, is a sequel to 1999’s The Best Man which grossed $34 million. Both films were directed by Malcolm D. Lee and star a number of the same actors, including Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard and Nia Long.
This week, Universal Pictures released the official trailer to The Best Man Holiday, the upcoming sequel to the 1999 film, The Best Man. Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee is at the helm again, and he has reunited his all-star cast of Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Harold Perrineau, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall for a story set fifteen years later during the Christmas holidays. The movie is scheduled for wide release on November 15.
The Best Man is returning to the big screen this fall. The gang is back and the star-studded cast reunites to film Best Man Holiday. In it, Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Monica Calhoun, Melissa De Sousa and Regina Hall come together fifteen years later.
Universal Pictures has released the teaser trailer to the sequel of the 1999 film, which are both directed and written by Malcolm D. Lee.
The film picks up when the group of friends reunite over the Christmas holidays where rivalries are ignited and romances spark. The movie is scheduled to hit theaters on November 15.