Tag: Tom Wilkinson

“Selma” Cast, Director Ava DuVernay Wear “I Can’t Breathe” Shirts at N.Y. Premiere

Eric Garner Selma premiere protest I
(RAY TAMARRA/GC IMAGES)

Parties and protests don’t typically overlap, but the “Selma” cast made an exception and a statement on Sunday night following the film’s Manhattan premiere. At one point during the otherwise splashy festivities, director Ava DuVernay took to the steps of the New York Public Library with actors David OyelowoE. Roger MitchellWendell PierceOmar DorseyJohn Lavelle, Stephan James, Kent FaulconLorraine ToussaintAndre HollandTessa Thompson and Colman Domingo, donning “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts over their partywear and raising their arms in the “don’t shoot” pose.

It was not just an unusually sobering photo op, but also a direct acknowledgment of the eerie timing of Paramount’s civil rights drama, with its scenes of organized protest and its urgent plea for justice and reform. The premiere was held the same weekend that more than 25,000 men and women marched through Manhattan, in the largest protest the city has seen since a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

The picture’s timeliness is undeniable, said Toussaint, who plays the civil rights activist Amelia Boynton. “There are no accidents,” she said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this film, and I’m so proud of Ava’s accomplishment. To bear witness to the fact that this voice is being heard at this moment … it speaks to the times and the needs of this time, too.”

Introducing the screening, along with Oyelowo and producers Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, DuVernay noted that the last time she had set foot in the historic Ziegfeld Theater, it was in her capacity as a publicist. That was back in 2006, at the New York premiere of “Dreamgirls.”

“I was on that film for a year,” DuVernay recalled at the afterparty. “I remember what Jennifer Hudson wore. I remember what Beyoncé wore. It was a madhouse of A-list celebrities, and I walked that same carpet.” Is it better walking it as a filmmaker rather than a flack? “A little better, a little better. I’ve got better gear on than that black suit.”

Fortunately for actor Alessandro Nivola, the premiere was held on his one night off from “The Elephant Man,” the Broadway play in which he’s currently starring alongside Bradley Cooper. Nivola had to dash over to the Ziegfeld from the matinee, just in time for the film’s 6 p.m. screening.

“I would’ve walked offstage a little early to get to the red carpet if it had meant that I was going to miss it (otherwise),” Nivola said.

He noted that it was a treat to work again with Oyelowo, with whom he also appeared in “Who Do You Love” and the upcoming “A Most Violent Year.” “He was particularly inspired in this particular role by his faith. Whether or not you believe in God, when you see somebody who feels that drive in him in a performance, it’s a pretty powerful thing.”

Also in attendance were Paramount chairman-CEO Brad Grey, Viacom president-CEO Philippe DaumanJames Schamus and Harvey Weinstein, as well as “Selma” actors Carmen EjogoCommonTim Roth and Tom Wilkinson. Paramount will roll the film out on Christmas Day in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., followed by a wide release on Jan. 9.

article by Justin Chang via Variety.com

“Belle” Director Amma Asante on How the Indie Drama Turned Her Into a Hollywood Player

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Amma Asante on set of “Belle” (Photo Courtesy Fox Searchlight)

If you asked most people in Hollywood who Amma Asante was just a few months ago, you’d probably get a blank stare. Now, after the release of her critically acclaimed film “Belle,” the British writer-director is a certified Hollywood player.

Asante’s life and career took a dramatic turn in May, when “Belle” hit theaters in North America. TheWrap spoke with her this past weekend in Boston at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention, where Asante introduced clips of the film during a presentation by Fox Home Entertainment.

“You make a movie essentially in a bubble, I think, especially when it’s your second movie,” Asante said. “So, I was certainly making this movie in a bubble, and wondering whether my concept of the world, and my concept of the world back then as well, would connect to an audience today.”

It seems Asante had no reason to worry. “Belle” received an impressive 83 percent positive rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes and the independent film earned a respectable $10 million at the box office via Fox Searchlight.

RELATED: “Belle” Does Well in Limited Release; Expands to 10 More Cities Next Weekend

The movie is based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) – the illegitimate, mixed-race daughter of Royal Navy Captain, Sir John Lindsay (Matthew Goode). Lindsay leaves Belle to be raised by her aristocratic great uncle, Lord Mansfield, in 18th century England. Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson) are already taking care of another niece, and the two girls become inseparable. But while Belle’s lineage allows her certain privileges, her skin color prevents her from having the traditional noble social status.

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Amma Asante speaks at NABJ in Boston, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 (Credit: Brett E. Chambers)

“Initially this project had started off with my producer and the writer who’s credited on the film, with HBO in America. Then HBO dropped the project,” Asante said. After the script passed through several different hands, Asante decided to give it a more personal touch.

“What I did was, I put my experiences into Dido’s life. That was the easiest way of connecting the historical facts and to try and make it personal … There are many lines in it that are quotes from my father and quotes from my sister,” Asante said, referring to the fact that she grew up in England, but felt like an outsider because she is black and of Ghanaian descent.

“We lived in an area where we were one of only two black families on the street,” Asante explained as she opened up about her personal experiences with racism. “We went through that period of having feces through the letterbox (mailbox) … and graffiti on our walls.”

Continue reading ““Belle” Director Amma Asante on How the Indie Drama Turned Her Into a Hollywood Player”

Oprah Winfrey to Play Civil Rights Protester Annie Lee Cooper in Ava Duvernay’s ‘Selma’

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Photo Credit: ANTHONY HARVEY/GETTY IMAGES

Oprah Winfrey has joined the cast of Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.” She is also producing the film.  Winfrey will play Annie Lee Cooper, an elderly woman who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by Sheriff Clark. She was a visible leader amongst the civil rights protesters in Selma.  The drama follows MLK’s landmark 1965 voting rights campaign, which is regarded as the peak of the civil rights movement.

The film stars Oprah’s ‘Butler’ co-star David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King; Tom Wilkinson as Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson; Cuba Gooding Jr. as Fred Gray; Common as James Bevel; Wendell Pierce as Rev. Hosea Williams; Stephan James as John Lewis; and Nigel Thatch as Malcolm X.

Winfrey earned an Oscar nomination for her performance in Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple.” She most recently played Oyelowo’s mother in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” In addition to “Selma,” Winfrey is a producer on DreamWorks’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” which hits theaters in August. She’s represented by WME.

article via theculture.forharriet.com

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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