David Oyelowo to play Sugar Ray Robinson in ‘Sweet Thunder’ biopic

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

Deadline reports actor David Oyelowo (The Help, Red Tails, Middle of Nowhere) is attached to play iconic boxer Sugar Ray Robinson in a biopic…

The film will be based on the Wil Haygood biography Sweet Thunder: The Life And Times Of Sugar Ray Robinson; Robinson is still considered (arguably) the greatest pound-for-pound boxer ever!

Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz and Game Change writer Danny Strong will produce, and Oyelowo will executive producer.  Haygood wrote a draft of the script and depending on who the director is, Strong might come on and do a rewrite.

All of this came together on the set of the Lee Daniels-directed The Butler, the film that Oyelowo stars in with Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker.  Strong wrote that script, based on Haygood’s Washington Post article, and the three of them found the beats of the boxing movie.

Sweet Thunder chronicles Robinson’s exploits with an emphasis on an intriguing aspect of the fighter’s early career.  Despite being the class of his field in the welterweight and later middleweight class, Robinson spent too long watching inferior fighters get title matches, boxers that he’d whipped soundly in non-title fights.  The reason: boxing was controlled by organized crime, and Robinson declined to get in bed with them, and refused to throw a fight.  Robinson helped expose that seedy underbelly of the business.

Stay tuned, RC will keep you updated with production news, trailers and release dates!

Your Thoughts?


‘Middle of Nowhere’ tops indie box office charts

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Congratulations goes to award winning director Ava DuVernay whose second film Middle of Nowhere  topped the indie film box office charts this past weekend.

According to Hello Beautiful, the love story starring Emayatzy Corinealdi, Omari Hardwick and David Oyelowo grossed $78,030 and made just about $13,005 per theater average.

The film, which was released by the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), premiered in NYC, LA, DC, Philly and ATL respectively.  Now AFFRM plans to expand the movie in 16 more theaters in cities including Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Miami and Seattle.

Middle of Nowhere  is about a young woman named Ruby, who drops out of medical school to focus on her husband, when he gets sentenced to eight years in prison.


Oprah gives “Middle of Nowhere” two thumbs up!

(David Oyelowo and Emayatzy Corinealdi)

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

You know you’re on to something special when Oprah Winfrey endorses you. That’s exactly what the “Queen of Media” did for film director Ava DuVernay and her latest movie, Middle of Nowhere. is reporting that Lady O expressed her love for the film by tweeted to DuVernay, “Saw your movie…Excellent job especially with no money. Bravo to you my sistah.”  Winfrey then urged her 14 million followers to go and support the film.

Middle of Nowhere  tells the story of a young newlywed who puts her life on hold as she waits for her husband’s release from an eight-year prison sentence and stars Omari Hardwick, David Oyelowo and newcomer Emayatzy Corinealdi.

This is DuVernay’s second project. Last year she released, I Will Follow  with Hardwick and Sallie Richardson.  She is also the first black woman to win Best Director at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Check out the trailer…

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Middle of Nowhere  opens this weekend in limited theaters.


Is Zoe Saldana replacing Mary J. Blige in the Nina Simone biopic?

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

The internet is abuzz with the recent news that Latin actress, Zoe Saldana has replaced Mary J. Blige in an up-coming biopic about African American jazz, blues and folk singer Nina Simone.

According to S&A, Saldana replaced Mary J. Blige after several film delays and also because Mary decided to star in the musical Rock of Ages.

The film, which has been in development for a few years now, will focus on Simone’s relationship with her Paris-based manager Clifton Henderson who is being played by Red Tails star David Oyelowo.

So what is all the fuss about?

Well, it’s not that Saldana is not a good enough actress or that she isn’t a singer or classically trained pianist. It’s the fact that she looks nothing like Simone, who was known for her strikingly full lips, coarsely braided hair and espresso colored skin. Many feel that the role should at least be played by an actress that resembles Simone such as Adepero Oduye or Viola Davis or even singer India.Arie.

This isn’t the first time an actress has been cast in a musical biopic to the chagrin of public opinion and movie critics.

Diana Ross received a lot of negative press in 1971 when it was announced that she would be playing jazz and blues singer Billie Holliday in Lady Sings the Blues.  Many critics felt that Ross and Holliday were “miles apart” in terms of vocal styling and appearance. However, Ross quieted her critics when she was nominated for an Academy Award.

So is this film going to be Zoe Saldana’s LSTB?  We’ll just have to see about that.

For now, fans can remain somewhat calm since no official announcement has been made. In the meantime, enjoy one of our favorite Nina Simone tunes entitled Four Women:

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Rising - Ent

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s award-winning love story coming to theaters

Posted by | Ray Cornelius

Does love really conquer all?  Well that is what filmmaker Ava DuVernay attempts to answer in her new movie, Middle of Nowhere.

DuVernay’s premiered her independent film during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, where she became the first African American woman to receive the Best U.S. Director Award.

The film stars Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, and Omari Hardwick, who also starred in DuVernay’s last offering, I Will Follow  with Salli Richardson.

Middle of Nowhere  arrives in theaters October 12.

Check out the trailer…

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Mariah Carey & YaYa DaCosta join ‘The Butler’, Quincy Jones scoring the film…

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

Lee Daniels‘, The Butler will tell the true tale of Eugene Allen, the late White House butler who served eight presidents during his tenure from 1952 to 1986.

Principal photography began this week on the film and new details have dropped reports S&A.

The first announcement is that Mariah Carey (who worked with Daniels in Precious) and Yaya DaCosta (America’s Next Top Model, cycle 3 runner-up) have joined the cast.

There is no word on what roles Carey and DaCosta will play, but the ladies will join an all-star cast who includes:   Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey,Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Liam Neeson, Minka Kelly, Alex Pettyfer, Colman Dingo, Vanessa Redgrave, James Marsden, Liev Schreiber and more.

The other big news is that legendary composer/producer Quincy Jones will score the film; his last musical composition for a film was 2005’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’.

What are your thoughts?

Rising - Ent

David Oyelowo talks about new films and not being afraid of a little controversy…

It may appear that 96 Minutes star David Oyelowo is new on the scene.  However, the British-Nigerian actor has been on his grind for quite some time [14 years to be exact] appearing in such films as The Last King of Scotland, The Help and most recently Red Tails.

Although Hollywood is just taking notice, he credits his recent success to making the right film choices and being a versatile actor.  Oyelowo recently sat down with to discuss his latest film projects including Lee Daniel’s The Butler and why he is not afraid of starring in unconventional movies.

On his recent success…

It feels like a marathon to me but I’ve chosen that path. I turned down a lot of easier opportunities in order to go for the things that I really and ultimately wanted to do. And what’s really nice is that it’s starting to work. I’ve been an actor for coming up on 14 years now and the level of activity that’s taking place now is a culmination of a slow cooker approach to [a career] as opposed to a microwave.

On collaborating with Lee Daniels for The Butler

We start [shooting] The Butler in June and that’s incredibly exciting for me because I get to work with the amazing Forest Whitaker again. It’s a phenomenal script and a great, great role — I play his son. Oprah Winfrey is his wife and my mother. My character is a radical, civil rights activist. I rebel against the profession his father has chosen — a butler who works in the White House from [President Dwight] Eisenhower to [Ronald] Reagan. I become a civil rights leader who’s involved in marches with [Martin Luther] King, moves onto Malcolm X and I become a Black Panther.

On not straying away from “controversial” movies…

We can’t afford to deny our past in a bid to be empowered. But what we can do is contextualize the past. The problem with us and the stories we’re trying to tell is that we get so few opportunities to tell them that the danger comes when we try to cram everything in. The Help sheds light on a certain truth in America, but the tragedy is if we don’t get a chance to contrast it with other points of views. The Butler does that, Red Tails does that and that’s what 96 Minutes does.

Catch David Oyelowo in 96 Minutes when the film opens in theaters April 27


Oprah Winfrey spills the beans about ‘The Butler’ cast…

Posted by | Cyrena Rose

Lee Daniels has reportedly been busy “putting together a top-notch cast” according to Indiewire for his up-coming film The Butler!  Well, today on EXTRA, Oprah Winfrey spilled the beans about 3 of the stars; herself included!

Oprah told Extra’s AJ Calloway that Jane Fonda, two-time Oscar winner, will play the President’s wife (Nancy Reagan), Oscar winner Forest Whitaker will headline as the White House butler (Eugene Allen) and she will play Allen’s wife!  David Oyelowo is in talks to play the butler’s son in the movie.

 Whitaker and Oyelowo

In short, The Butler is Lee Daniel’s story of Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as a butler in the White House for 34 years serving eight presidents and their families.  Allen had a unique front-row seat as political and racial history was made, from the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement to the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

The film is based on a series of articles written on Allen by Wil Haygood.

What are your thoughts?