Mary J Blige

Nina Simone Biopic

A Nina Simone biopic has been in the works for years now, with Cynthia Mort set to direct from her own script since 2005, and singer Mary J. Blige once attached for the lead role that has now apparently gone to Zoe Saldana – but those elapsed years and that major casting shuffle appear to be the least of the film’s worries, as Simone’s own daughter has now stepped forward to not only refute the very basis of the film, but to poke some major holes into the production’s casting. Over at Shadow and Act, the team has been carefully putting together a number of posts about the situation that are fascinating on their own (and that I have been eagerly following), but that are also kicking off incredibly interesting (and, frankly, sometimes unsettling) discussions in the comment sections. On the most basic level, fans of Simone appear to be quite displeased with the casting of Saldana in the role (with reasons varying from her looks, her ethnicity, her age, and her talent level), and a number of other names have come up as being far more suitable for the role – actresses like Viola Davis, Lauryn Hill, Anika Noni Rose, and Adepero Oduye, among others. Yet, beyond just the casting (one that appears to have been done, at least partially, to get the once financially-strapped productions some big name juice), the film’s very script appears to be fundamentally flawed – because it just might hinge on a fabrication. Simone’s […]



UPDATED: Hello, musical theatrics! Director Adam Shankman‘s take on Broadway hit Rock of Ages will undoubtedly be slick, highly produced, loud, melodramatic, and positively crammed with toe-tapping song-and-dance numbers (did you see Hairspray?) – essentially, it’s a film that will likely upset fans of the stage musical while also becoming a big commercial hit with a bizarre kitsch sensibility. That’s not just me guessing – that’s information hardily reinforced by the film’s first trailer. The film stars Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Ackerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston (really?!), Alec Baldwin, and Tom Cruise as (very different) people who populate and influence Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip music scene in the 1980’s. Hough and Boneta are trying to make it, Cruise already has, Zeta-Jones scream-sings a lot, that old story. The film is set to a cadre of ’80s classic jams, including Def Leppard, Joan Jett, Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Night Ranger, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, and Whitesnake. If you’ve yet to grow out of your big-haired, leather-clad rocker glory days, this is the film for you. Weirdly enough, despite Cruise (and his hair and his hips) being the marquee name on this film, we don’t get a whole lot of him until the last half of the trailer. And then we don’t get so much of him and his character, Stacee Jaxx, as we get some random groupie and her boobs. Bravo to everyone. Get your hairspray ready and check out […]


The news of using illegal steroids and performance-enhancing drugs is nothing special. We see that every day… in the sports pages.

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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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