Beyond The Lights

Beyond The Lights postera/k/a Blackbird

Release Date:  November 14, 2014
Studio: Relativity Media
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  Not Available
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Noni Jean), Nate Parker (Kaz Nicol), Danny Glover (Captain David Nicol), Minnie Driver (Macy Jean), Elaine Tan (April), Aisha Hinds (J Stanley), Aml Ameen (Trey), Hayley Marie Norman (Shai).

Story: Noni Jean is a hot new award-winning artist who is primed for superstardom. But not all is what it seems, and the pressures cause Noni to nearly fall apart – until she meets Kaz Nicol, a promising young cop and aspiring politician who has been assigned to her detail. Drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz fall fast and hard, despite the protests of their parents who urge them to put their career ambitions ahead of their romance. But can Kaz’s love give Noni the courage to find her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be? (Synopsis adapted from comingsoon.net).

See what the critics are saying about this film at Critics’ Connection.

Trailer:

Sweet Thunder

Sugar Ray RobinsonStatus:  Development Unknown (Script as of 1/17/17)
Release Date:  TBA
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  Not Available
Studio:  Specialty Films
Director:  Not Available
Cast: David Oyelowo, Danny Strong

Details:  Deadline reports that David Oyelowo is ready to play iconic boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in a biopic based on the Wil Haygood biography Sweet Thunder: The Life And Times Of Sugar Ray Robinson.  Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz and Game Change scribe Danny Strong will produce, and Oyelowo will be executive producer.

According to Black Actors, the film will focus on Robinson’s early career and possibly the organized crime circles that controlled the boxing industry in the 1940s and 1950s. (Source(s): Deadline; Black Actors).

Take My Wife

Status:  Development Unknown (Script as of 3/14/17)
Release Date: TBA
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Not Available
Studio: Lionsgate Films
Director: TBA
Cast: Tyler Perry
Dwayne Johnson
Story:  A recently divorced man attempts to find his ex-wife a new man in order to avoid paying alimony, but in the process, he falls in love again and then must compete for his ex-wife’s affection. (Source: Movie Insider)

Toussaint

Status:  Development Status – Script as of 9/17/17
Release Date:  TBA
Genre:  Biography
Rating:  Not Available
Studio:  Louverture Films
Director:  Danny Glover
Cast: TBA
Story:  Haitian revolution hero Toussaint L’Ouverture led one of the few successful slave uprisings in history. The slaves defeated French, Spanish and British armies and established the first independent Black republic, naming L’Ouverture president for life. He was captured and imprisoned by the French and died a year later.

Details:  As reported in The Guardian, on July 27, 2012, for more than 30 years, Glover has been trying to make a biopic about the leader of the Haitian revolution. True, the story of L’Ouverture has been told before, notably in a play by CLR James that was staged in London’s West End in 1936 starring Paul Robeson, and more recently in a French TV series starring Haitian actor, Jimmy Jean-Louis.  But Glover believes his treatment will be the first to “have the epic scale these events require.”

But when will we see this directorial debut?  In 2006, Glover assembled a cast including Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mos Def, and planned to shoot his film in South Africa and Venezuela, thanks to $18m from one of Glover’s heroes, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Six years on, filming has not started. “We’ll get the film done,” says Glover. “We came so close so many times, you could almost taste it, man. We came that close and we’re going to do it.” (Source: Shadow and Act).

Tulia

Status:  Delayed
Release Date: TBA
Genre:  Drama
Rating: Not Available
Studio: Lionsgate/Lift Films
Director: John Singleton
Cast: Halle Berry (Vanita Gupta), Billy Bob Thornton
Story:  Pic centers on a lawyer’s efforts to expose a rash of drug convictions in rural Tulia, Texas, in 1999.  Adaptation of Nate Blakeslee’s book Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town, in which 10% of the black population of Tulia was incarcerated. The arrests did not produce drugs or money, causing attorneys and civil-rights groups to denounce the bust as racial profiling. The undercover agent who conducted the bust was indicted on perjury charges; most of the 46 arrestees were eventually pardoned by Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Details:  According to Indiewire Shadow and Act, as of March 20, 2013, neither Berry nor Singleton is attached to this project anymore. (Source(s): Variety; Indiewire Shadow and Act).

All Eyez On Me

 

All Eyez On Me stillRelease Date:  6/16/17
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Studio:  Morgan Creek Productions, Open Road Films
Director:  Benny Boom

Cast:  Demetrius Shipp, Jr. (Tupac Shakur), Danai Gurira (Afeni Shakur), Jamal Woolard (Biggie Smalls), Kat Graham (Jada Pinkett), Annie Ilonzeh (Kidada Jones), Cory Hardrict (Hatian Jack), Grace Gibson (Faith Evans), Dominic L. Santana (Suge Knight).

Story:  Chronicles the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur.

Trailer 2:

Trailer 1:

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Update:  Cinema Blend stated on 4/25/16, that the death and murder of Tupac Shakur on September 7, 1996, was obviously going to play a major part in his impending biopic. As it turns out, the production crew for All Eyez On Me returned to this exact location on the Las Vegas strip to recreate Tupac’s death. TMZ, was on hand to collect an array of images of the shoot, which show actors Demetrius Shipp, Jr. and Dominic L. Santana, who are playing Tupac and Suge Knight, respectively, covered in blood and in character.

All Eyez On Me has been in development over at Morgan Creek Productions since 2011. Over the last five years it has had many different iterations, with the likes of Antoine Fuqua, Carl Franlkin, and John Singleton working on the project. But in November 2015, after a legal kerfuffle, it was reported that music video director Benny Boom would instead oversee All Eyez On Me.  As well as Demetrius Shipp, Jr. and Dominic L. Santana, the likes of Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Jamie Hector (The Wire), and Jamal Woolard, who will be reprising his role as The Notorious B.I.G. from the 2009 biopic of the musician, are part of the cast. The film is also going to feature incarnations of Puff Daddy, Jada Pinkett, Faith Evans, Kidada Jones, Ray Luv, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre, in a similar style to Straight Outta Compton. Source:  Cinema Blend; Photo Source:  Shadow and Act.

Update:  On 12/24/15 Deadline reported that the long-gestating Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me is finally filming with the lead cast in place, as newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. has landed the job of portraying the legendary rapper.  Shipp, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Shakur, is joined by an unexpected costar, as Jamal Woolard has been cast as Shakur’s former friend turned bitter rival, rapper Christopher Wallace, AKA The Notorious B.I.G.  Woolard notably made his own screen debut playing B.I.G. in the 2009 biopic Notorious.

In addition, Deadline announced on 1/16/16 that Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira will play Tupac’s mom Afeni Shakur.  In Afeni Shakur (who is an exec producer on the film and the keeper of the flame on her son’s estate), Gurira plays a complex woman.  A political activist and member of the Black Panthers, Afeni raised her son to be a voracious reader with a political awareness that informed his development as a street poet. The film reported covers Tupac’s rise to stardom as a hip-hop artist and actor, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial stint at Death Row Records, where he was steeped in the East Coast/West Coast rap war.

All Eyez On Me has had a troubled road to production. In-development since 2011, John Singleton was brought on board to direct in 2014, but left the project because of differences with the studio over how the story of Shakur’s life would be told.  Music video director Benny Boom was ultimately hired to replace Singleton.  Although it took a long time for the film to make it to the start line, the timing seems fortuitous after the out-sized grosses of another hip-hop origin story, Straight Outta Compton.  Source:  Deadline.

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Details:  The life and legacy of Tupac Shakur, including his rise to superstardom as a hip hop artist and actor, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial time at Death Row Records, where he was steeped in the East coast/West coast rap war.

John Singleton has closed a deal to rewrite, direct and produce the biopic about the iconic rapper, which would follow his rise to being one of the most popular hip-hop artists as well as his murder following a boxing match in 1996 in Las Vegas.

Director/producer John Singleton had firsthand experience with Shakur, who starred in Singleton’s Poetic Justice opposite Janet Jackson.

The next move is to find the actor to play Shakur. Singelton will soon dive into rewriting the script, with hopes of beginning production sometime this June. Source(s): Variety; Movie Insider).

Uptown Saturday Night

Status:  Development Status Unknown as of June 3, 2014
Release Date: TBA
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Not Available
Studio: Overbrook Entertainment/Warner Bros. Pictures
Director:  Adam McKay
Cast:  Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Katt Williams (rumored)

Story:  Remake of the 1970s Bill Cosby-Sidney Poitier comedy. The original follows the story of two friends who have their wallets stolen at a nightclub. The next morning, they learn that one of their wallets contained a winning lottery ticket, and together, they set out to find it.

Details:  According to Variety, in an effort to fast-track its remake of the 1970s Bill Cosby-Sidney Poitier comedy “Uptown Saturday Night,” Warner Bros. has hired “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” helmer Nicholas Stoller to do a rewrite on the script.

Adam McKay is on board to direct, and Warner Bros. intends to develop the film as a starring vehicle for Will Smith and Denzel Washington. Smith and his Overbrook Entertainment partner James Lassiter are producing and have been developing the project for some time, but the producers haven’t been able to juggle the stars’ schedules and get the script to the right point. (Source(s): Variety; Movie Insider)