Regina King to play first Black presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm in biopic?
By Vanessa Martinez
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Regina King has expressed her desire to portray the first Black New York Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Shirley Chisholm previously. A few years ago, she mentioned it on an interview with Kam Williams and in THIS interview this past January, in which The Daily Beast states that King, “hopes to one day pen and star in a docudrama.” Most recently, Kerry Washington mentioned Regina King and the project in THIS interview with Kam Williams just last month, where Washington says, “And I just heard that Regina King is doing Shirley Chisholm, perfect casting, which is another story that has to be told.”
Does Ms. Washington know something we don’t?
Last time anything was mentioned on S&A about a film biopic of Chisholm was back in 2010 at the old site, when Tambay posted about Viola Davis being eyed to portray the the 72′ presidential runner for a democratic nomination in a feature film written by Camille Thomasson and produced by Bryan Gambogi and Grant Anderson of Creative Monster Productions.
Although, I couldn’t find further information in the production company’s website, the film Chisholm is listed in imdb under Creative Monster Productions’ credits with a release date of 2012 and showing in pre-production. However, no word on whether the project is alive and/or if it’s affiliated with the project Regina King has in mind.
Hopefully we’ll find out one way or another, sooner than later, if a feature film is actually in development. It would be interesting to see King tackle this role.
Plot details revealed for Will Smith/Denzel Washington “Uptown Saturday Night” remake
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Last I wrote about this was almost exactly a year ago… an update this morning (courtesy of MTV) says that writer Tim Dowling (This Means War) (who was hired last year to pen the script) has finished and turned it in, and that Will Smith and Denzel Washington are still very much attached to star in the roles originated by Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby in the 1974 film.
Here’s what Dowling revealed about his take on the story:
“Will Smith is producing it. He hired me to write it because he liked the script for ‘This Mean’s War.’ He and Denzel Washington grew up loving the original… It’s been a fun one to write, I just turned it in. We’re all hoping it’s something [Washington] wants do… the funny thing is, Will is so funny but hasn’t done a comedy in a while and Denzel I don’t think has ever done a comedy. I think the pairing would be great… David Dobkin is attached to direct it and hopefully we’ll get that going… The best way to describe it is a ‘one crazy night’ movie but it’s not just one night… Both of the main characters are blue collar guys, one doesn’t get a promotion, one’s business isn’t doing great, they go out for a night and get caught up in something they need to find their way out of. It’s similar in tone to ‘The Hangover.’ I think it will be really fun.”
Things that make you go hmmm, right? Obviously, still not a lot to go on here, so I’ll reserve comment till we know more. I do like the emphasis on so-called “blue collar guys” though.
Years ago, Will Smith expressed interest in remaking the Sidney Poitier/Bill Cosby 70s film, Uptown Saturday Night. However, sadly for Smith, and despite sounding like a possible all-star African American Ocean’s Eleven-style romp, very little actually happened on the project since he acquired the rights, even though Smith had reportedly also talked with Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and Denzel Washington about co-starring.
Two years ago, Warner Bros was on the hunt for a writer to rewrite the most recent draft of the script at the time, which was penned by Cop Out’s Mark and Robb Cullen. It looked like the project would surely happen, and was only a matter of when.
A year later, Warner Bros. and Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment brought on comedy writer Tim Dowling to rewrite the Uptown Saturday Night script, with David Dobkin (who? Oh yeah, the guy who directed Shanghai Knights and Wedding Crashers) attached to direct.
As an aside… seriously though, these jobs really could have gone to a black writer and a black director, couldn’t they? If only to keep it somewhat in the spirit that the first trio of films were made – all 3 directed by Sidney Poitier; 2 written by African American playwright Richard Wesley; the other by Charles Blackwell, also African American.
There certainly are a few of them (writers and directors of African descent) who could use the work, and I think do a serviceable job with the project.
It’s one of those films that would be sold mainly on its big name stars, and not who’s directing or writing it, so why not give a brotha or sistah a shot?
Anyway… so it goes… moving on… obviously the remake will likely diverge from the original storyline.
Of the 3 in the trilogy, the second, Let’s Do It Again, is by far, my favorite! It still very much holds up today.
“Holler If Ya Hear Me” – musical based on the music of Tupac Shakur in development by Kenny Leon
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A film based on the late rapper/actor’s life is still in limbo (Antoine Fuqua was to direct it, and even began the casting process last spring, but nothing came from that, and Fuqua left the project; John Singleton then was said to have taken over for Fuqua, but then he left the project as well); but a Tupac Shakur stage musical is apparently in the works with Kenny Leon (maybe the most popular black director working on Broadway right now; although there aren’t exactly many of them).
Here are the details…
It’ll be titled Holler If Ya Hear Me, the title of a track from 2Pac’s second solo album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.
Director Leon first mentioned the project last year, while doing press for The Mountaintop (Katori Hall’s award-winning play), stating:
“The idea was always to make a musical inspired by his music and not to do an autobiographical approach to his life or anything like that… And because I always thought that Tupac was a prophet and I thought if everybody could hear his words and hear his stories, they would see what I see.”
And earlier this year, he added:
“So we are going to probably do a big workshop in New York this summer and I’m going to try to bring it to Broadway in the next Broadway season… So a year from now hopefully you’ll be seeing this world-changing musical on the Broadway stage. I couldn’t be more excited… Todd Krickler is writing the book, and with the lyrics by Tupac, it’s going to be very exciting, pretty much would sort of change the face of musical theater as we know it on Broadway, so I am looking forward to that.”
The casting notes only stated workshop dates, so no expected premiere date yet; a lot still has to happen. And given Kenny Leon’s recent successes (Fences and The Mountaintop notably) he’s likely in a strong position to get the production on stage, as he says, in the next year.