Tag: Significant Productions

Director Ryan Coogler Brings Heart, Talent to ‘Fruitvale’

director Ryan Coogler poses for photographers during a photo call for the film "Fruitvale Station" at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France. Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” _ his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 _ won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and attended the Cannes Film Festival. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, file)
Director Ryan Coogler poses for photographers during a photo call for the film “Fruitvale Station” at the 66th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France. Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” _ his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 _ won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, and attended the Cannes Film Festival. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, file)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ryan Coogler is back on the University of Southern California campus for the first time since becoming one of the country’s most promising young filmmakers, and he heads straight to the camera-rental center where he worked as a student. He runs into a former classmate, who high-fives and congratulates him, then asks for a photo. Coogler sheepishly obliges.

“This is inspiring, right here!” the younger man says as he snaps an iPhone shot of himself and Coogler. “Thank you, bro!”  Coogler gives the student his email address, then looks for his old boss, the equipment manager, who tells the 27-year-old filmmaker that he’s set a new standard for success at USC’s film school, which counts Ron Howard and George Lucas as alumni.

There’s no doubt he has. Coogler’s ”Fruitvale Station” — his first dramatic feature and first project since graduating with a master’s degree in 2011 — won both jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival, where the Weinstein Co. outbid a dozen studios to distribute it. Originally called simply “Fruitvale,” the film opens Friday in New York and Los Angeles, and around the nation later this month. Oscar buzz has already begun.

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Forest Whitaker To Direct Long-Stalled Richard Pryor Biopic

Forest Whitaker takes his daughters shopping at Urban Outfitters in Studio City, California on March 17, 2013

The long-gestating Richard Pryor biopic is starting over from scratch with Forest Whitaker now in charge.

Fresh from producing the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner “Fruitvale,” Whitaker has taken over the nearly two-decade effort to bring the legendary comic’s life of the big screen, reports Deadline.com.

Whitaker is teaming with the late comic’s widow, Jennifer Pryor, to produce the film through his Significant Productions shingle. Whitaker will develop a new script with input from Jennifer Pryor, and Significant Productions’ Nina Yang-Bongiovi, will also produce.

The Pryor biopic has been attempted numerous times, and the most recent version had Bill Condon poised to direct Marlon Wayans in the starring role for Sony Pictures, where Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison had set the project. Condon was certainly passionate about Pryor, but everything took a back seat when he signed on to helm the final two “Twilight Saga” installments. The project languished.

The first Pryor project was a Martin Scorsese-directed drama to star Damon Wayans, this well before Pryor died in 2005. Later, there was a Showtime pic that was to star Eddie Griffin and another attempt at a feature that was to star Mike Epps with Kasi Lemmons directing.

Condon’s first flirtation had Eddie Murphy briefly interested, and then Chris Rock was briefly in the conversation.

The question now is, who will be Whitaker’s Richard Pryor?  Deadline.com’s Mike Fleming Jr. thinks he should look no further than his “Fruitvale” star, Michael B. Jordan, “who by all accounts crushed it in that film.”

Fleming writes: “Jordan, who grew up playing roles in ‘The Wire’ and ‘Friday Night Lights’ before starring in ‘Chronicle,’ certainly has the charisma and should be established enough as the lead on a modestly budgeted film after The Weinstein Company releases ‘Fruitvale’ later this year.”

article via eurweb.com