Josephine/The Last Dance

On February 12, 2020, it was reported that the remarkable story of Josephine Baker, one of the most influential female entertainers of the 20th century, will be the subject of Josephine, a limited drama series in development at ABC Signature, with Ruth Negga attached to star as the legendary Jazz Age performer and civil rights activist.  The series will take a raw and unflinching look at the force of nature that was Josephine Baker. From international superstar and decorated WWII spy, to civil rights activist and flawed mother, Josephine delves into  the raw talent, sexual fluidity, struggles and bold life of an icon.  In addition to playing the leading role, Negga will also serve as an executive producer.  Written by Dee Harris-Lawrence (All Rise) the series will also be executive produced by Harris-Lawrence, and LeBron James’ The Springhill Company.  Millicent Shelton is directing.

Another biopic about the life of Josephine Baker was previously announced.  On December 16 2019, Deadline reported that Paula Patton had optioned film and television rights to Josephine Baker’s Last Dance, a novel by Sherry Jones, with the intention of starring in and producing an adaptation.  There have been no updates regarding the status of this project.

Born in Missouri in 1906 and started performing at the age of 15 appearing in vaudeville shows and chorus lines.  At 19, she moved to France and immediately found success as one of Europe’s most popular and highest-paid performers. Early on, she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. She earned nicknames like “Black Venus” and “Black Pearl.”

Baker worked for the French Resistance during World War II, and during the 1950s and ’60s devoted herself to fighting segregation and racism in the United States.  She refused to perform in front of segregated audiences and had an active role in the civil rights movement. Just two years after making a comeback to the stage, Baker died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1975, and was buried with military honors.

 In 1991 Lynn Whitfield portrayed Baker in the HBO biopic, The Josephine Baker Story for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, becoming the first Black actress to win the category.  Source(s):  MSN; mxdwn.com.  Photo Sources:  MSN; blackculturenews.com; IMDB; Wikipedia.

Passing

Release Date:   11/10/21; Netflix
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  PG-13
Director:  Rebecca Hall
Studio(s):  AUM Group, Film4, Flat Five Productions, Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions, Gamechanger Films, Picture Films, Sweet Tomato Films, TGCK Partners, XRM Media.
Running Time:  98 mins.

Cast:  Tessa Thompson as Irene Redfield, Ruth Negga as Clare Kendry, André Holland as Brian Redfield, Alexander Skarsgård as John, Bill Camp as Hugh.

Story Two African-American women who can “pass” as white choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York in an exploration of racial and gender identity, performance, obsession and repression. Based on the novella by Nella Larsen.  Source(s):  Sundance.org; Wikipedia; IMDB.  Photo Source:  Justjared.com.

Trailer:

Of Mind and Music

Of Mind and Music

a/k/a Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind

Release Date:  2/12/16 (In Theaters); 3/29/16 (DVD); 2014
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  PG-13
Running Time:  97 mins.
Studio(s):  Monterey Video; Una Vida Productions
Director:  Richie Adams

Cast:  Joaquim de Almeida (Dr. Alvaro Cruz), Aunjanue Ellis (Una Vida), Bill Cobbs (Stompleg), Ruth Negga (Jessica), Sharon Lawrence (Angela Cruz), Andre Royo (Kenny).

Story:  A story about a beautiful street musician suffering from memory loss and a disheartened neuroscientist intent on helping her, bringing together the city of New Orleans and the jazz that made it famous. Sources: IMDB; Shadow & Act.

Trailer:

Loving

 

LovingRelease Date:  11/4/16; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama
Rating:  Unknown
Studio(s):  Big Beach Films, Raindog Films
Running Time:  Unknown
Director: Jeff Nichols

Cast:  Joel Edgerton (Richard Loving), Ruth Negga (Mildred Loving),
Marton Csokas (Sheriff Brooks), Michael Shannon (Grey Villet), Nick Kroll (Bernie Cohen), Jon Bass (Phil Hirschkop), Bill Camp (Frank Beazley).

Richard and Mildred LovingStory:  On 5/8/15 Deadline reported that Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga will star as Mildred and Richard Loving, the couple behind the seminal 1967 civil rights case Loving vs. Virginia. Big Beach will finance the film, which is inspired by the documentary The Loving Story. Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, were married in June 1958.  As a result, authorities broke into their home, arrested them, and they were sentenced to a year in the state penitentiary. This sentence was suspended on the condition that they be exiled from the state of Virginia.  Unbowed, the couple spent the next nine years fighting to get home, together, and the theme of the story is about marrying the one you want and finding the one you need.

Shadow and Act stated on 11/20/15 that principal photography was underway in Virginia and that the story of the Lovings became the basis of Mr. & Mrs. Loving, a 1996 made-for-TV movie that starred Lela Rochon, Timothy Hutton and Ruby Dee. However, it was reported that Mildred Loving dismissed it as mostly fantasy.  Sources: Deadline; Shadow and Act; Photo Sources: lovingfilm.com; Shadow and Act.

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