Tag Archives: Idris Elba

Idris Elba says never say never as he calls James Bond role ‘a rumour’

Original article taken from www.theguardian.com
Written by Ben Child



Actor Idris Elba at the Global Premiere for “Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World” at Odeon Leicester Square on October 22, 2013 in London, England


Idris Elba has denied reports he is entering the final straight in the race to become the next James Bond.

Elba, 42, is currently one of the bookies’ favourites to replace Daniel Craig as 007 when the latter’s run ends in two movies’ time. But the Hackney-born star, best known for television roles in The Wire and Luther and his portrayal of Nelson Mandela, said tabloid reports suggesting he is the frontrunner to take on the role were wide of the mark.

“It’s just a rumour,” Elba told the Radio Times, adding: “I have no idea.”

Elba reignited speculation in September last year when he told a fan on Reddit he would “absolutely” take the role of Bond if it were offered. After a large cache of hacked Sony Pictures emails later suggested the studio was eyeing him as the next 007, he tweeted a picture of himself with the caption “Isn’t 007 supposed to [be] handsome? Glad you think I’ve got a shot!”

However, since then, and despite endorsement from former Bond Pierce Brosnan, Elba has tended to downplay his chances. “If there was ever any chance of me getting Bond, it’s gone,” he told an audience at London’s British Film Institute in April, claiming that the longstanding rumour that he would play the screen spy was “really starting to eat itself”.

Homeland’s Damien Lewis, 44, is the current frontrunner with bookmaker William Hill to replace Craig, at 6/4. Elba is just behind on 5/2. However, odds on Tom Hardy, at 37 the right age to play a new Bond, have shortened significantly to 4/1 in the wake of global box office success for critically acclaimed sci-fi reboot Mad Max: Fury Road.

Craig will next star as Bond in November’s Spectre, which once again sees Oscar-winner Sam Mendes in charge of the cameras. It is widely expected that the 47-year-old star will step down after the film’s follow-up, which would likely see him as a 50-something Bond.

Film Review: Avengers Age Of Ultron

Written by Graeme Wood



Joss Whedon set the bar of expectation high with the first Avengers film in 2012 and the sequel employs a similar palette with a satisfying if mixed results. Presented with a number of seemingly impossible boxes to tick, from pleasing fans, children and adults, introducing new characters, joss-whedonprogressing the threads of Marvel’s TV franchise, pointing the way ahead for character’s individual movies and ensuring some decent action figures along the way you’d be surprised if Whedon didn’t drop the ball somewhere along the line. However, Whedon is a writer who is always able to find a lighter moment to punctuate what could otherwise be a po-faced affair and in the midst of skull crushing and building destruction he’ll add a knowing gag or character beat that reminds us these are (mostly) human heroes not without their flaws. If some of the plot doesn’t necessarily pass rigorous inspection, the sheer momentum of the movie ensures it sails through its lengthy running time like a breeze. It’s never boring, always restless with ideas and frequently thrilling. In contrast to almost every other superhero movie it is perfectly paced too.

We open with the Avengers in full effect and for those who have followed the Marvel characters on AgentsOfShield_Marvelboth small and big screen events tie in neatly with the current story from TVs Agents of Shield, though for those who haven’t been watching both this doesn’t take away from a standalone story in this film.

Here we see what is likely to become the film’s renowned signature shot an especially impressive slow-mo tableau of our heroes united and all leaping in to battle the hordes of Hydra soldiers. The team are attempting to recover Loki’s staff from the first film, having been stolen by Hydra following the collapse of SHIELD in the second Captain America film -The Winter Soldier. With the staff back in their possession its revealed properties open up an intriguing possibility for inventor Tony Stark who driven by a sense of failure wants to protect his friends and more importantly the world.

Stark has always seemed less of a team player and though he comes through in the end there is a sense that he is dismissive of others and always far too pleased with himself. As played by Robert Downey Jr, always a captivating screen presence, this has been a hard act to match though this film sees a more even spread. Stark’s pursuit of a laudable-but impossible-goal drives him to set in motion the creation of a new nemesis in the form of Ultron. It may have a moniker suggesting a 70s floor cleaner but this super adaptable artificial intelligence becomes the most dangerous foe the team has faced because, as one character put it, he is everywhere. Not just a series ofUltron_avengers interconnected and constantly evolving robots but living inside the Internet too. Voiced with casual menace and sardonic pleasure by James Spader Ultron’s intent is to realise Stark’s idealistic vision of a totally peaceful world by wiping out everyone and forcing mankind to evolve over. Not exactly what you might expect a super intelligence to come up with but the parallel here is with Stark who has also evolved himself by creating the Iron Man armour. Cleverly, Whedon uses the mind controlling powers of new arrival the Scarlet Witch to shorthand the fears, doubts and inner feelings of our team so we never have to second guess their motivations.

Conceptually Ulton’s plan may be a stretch and his powers do ebb and flow dependent on the demands of the narrative yet Spader’s fruity vocals and an effectively expressive CGI are sufficient to render it convincingly powerful.

Whedon is also aware enough to second guess some of our doubts and address them in the narrative, there is no doubt that Ultron is a suitably big bad foe able to create divisions within the team an aspect that Whedon returns too never allowing the film to get lost amidst the increasingly big set pieces in the second half.
Chris Evans’ Captain America proves to be the biggest beneficiary of this approach, his no frills moral stance putting him on a collision course with Stark’s ‘the end justifies the means’ ideals. The difference in their characters means their scenes together provide a cornerstone to the film and a signpost to what will unfold in Marvel’s Phase 3 movies.

Also pleasing is that Hawkeye and Black Widow, characters without their own showcase and who tended to become side-kicks in the first film are given much more satisfying and developed arcs this time around. Scarlett Johansson’s scenes with Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner are touching and subtly played even if the Hulk itself is sometimes a sledgehammer too many. While Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton provides an unsuspecting humanity and heart at the centre of the film which grounds our characters and determines their mission.

Among the new arrivals we’re introduced to the Maximoff twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, however due to the X-Men and Mutants belonging to Fox studios the twins are introduced here as AgeUltron_Quicksilverenhanced experiments rather than Magneto’s offspring. While their place in the plot is earned as individuals they fail to make much of an impact as interesting characters, particularly as the cast keeps growing. Making worthwhile cameos and even managing to expand their characters in the brief time on-screen are Don Cheadle (War Machine), Samuel L Jackson (Nick Fury), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Idris Elba (Heimdal) and Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) Marvel’s watchword – ‘It’s all connected’ – never ringing truer.

The final character to be introduced is a Paul Bettany as The Vision tipping the balance perhaps a little too much as his powers seem to conveniently mop up any gaps in the skills of the others and providing the key to defeating Ultron. Nonetheless the team rally into battle in the final act and the action is impressive. Whedon’s use of Italy, Bangladesh, Johanesburg and Seoul and locations provide a suitably refreshing and global feel to the proceedings which lifts the action sequences far above the norm.

Though the outcome of the battle is rarely in doubt Whedon ensures that it doesn’t come easily and it’s not without a cost, while the cinematography and direction ensures these scenes continue to hold our attention. By the film’s close we see some intriguing story threads laid for the next sequence of Marvel’s cinematic universe and a new team of Avengers ready to continue the good fight under the leadership of Captain America. However, one must wonder if subsequent Avengers movies helmed by Anthony and Joe Russo can possibly ever match the verve of the first because Whedon has ensured these are the cream of an increasingly overcrowded market.

David Oyelewo Undoubted Shining Star

By Leslie Byron Pitt
Written: 04.03.15



In the last five years, the likes of Idris Elba (Thor), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) have called attention to the wealth of black British actors making strong waves within the Hollywood system. 2014 helped continue the trend, with films such as Interstellar, A Most Violent Year and Selma highlighting the remarkable talents of David Oyelowo.

Oyelowo was born in Oxford, 1976 to Nigerian parents who both worked within the transport sector. At age 6, Oyelowo relocated to Nigeria and during his time there; Oyelowo discovered that his family was of royal lineage. He returned to England seven years later. Quoted in his BBC bio for Spy drama Spooks, it was during his Theatre Studies A-levels at City and Islington College, in which Oyelowo was inspired by a teacher to continue his dramatic pursuits.

David Oyelowo started his stage career in 1999 with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in roles for plays such as Oroonoko and Volpone. His performance as Henry VI in 2001 had him awarded with Ian Charleson Award for Best Newcomer in a Classic Play. This landmark of colour blind casting, caused controversy in some media circles. In the book The Henry VI plays (by Stuart Hampton-Reeves and Carol Chillington Rutte), Oyelowo states on remembering a Daily Telegraph article which complained such casting “opens us to ridicule”. A Mail on Sunday Piece remarks: “I’m not sure you could have a black actor playing a monarch with such a familiar face, but with Henry VI it’s fine because your average theatre goer starts with a pretty blank slate.” A hilarious remark considering the west’s history of white washing minority characters (Laurence Olivier in Othello anyone?).

It is this role of Henry, however, that not only convinced his father that David had found correct career choice, such criticisms unsurprisingly foreshadow and consolidates Oyelowo’s feelings of strong roles for black British talent. The press interviews for Selma have highlighted Oyelowo’s forthright opinions on how race in the arts is viewed. That Oyelowo made his mark with this portrayal, only highlights his considerable talents further.

David Oyelowo became more of a household name due to his stint as doomed case officer; Danny in the BBC’s praised espionage series, Spooks (2002 – 2011). Playing alongside the likes of Matthew Oyelowo_SpooksMacfadyen and Keeley Hawes, Oyelowo spent two years on the highly popular show before bowing out to pursue other projects. Oyelowo found himself in leading roles such as Matt Wellings, in the critically acclaimed drama Five Days, in which he won the 2007 award for Winner of Best Actor in a Mini Series or Motion Picture for Television, Golden Satellite Awards. In 2008 he was cast alongside British actors Colin Salmon and Idris Elba in the Anthony Minghella directed pilot of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The Botswanan set show, while award winning and enjoyed, unfortunately, never obtained a second series.

Oyelowo also starred in the 2009 television mini-series Small Island. An adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel, which focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants during and after World War II. Oyelowo was nominated for Best Actor at the BAFTA television awards in 2010, for his portrayal of the unlucky but noble Gilbert Joseph.

Despite finding minor cinematic roles in the likes of Derailed (2005) and The Last King of Scotland (2006), it was 2011 which marked out new and exciting territory for the young actor. Oyelowo was cast as the selfish antagonist, Steven Jacobs in the surprise blockbuster hit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Often recognised as more noble characters, the role of Jacobs allowed Oyelowo to not only star in one of the biggest hits of the summer, but also allowed him to expand his range in a much pulpier type of cinematic feature.

2011 also saw Oyelowo take a small role as Preacher Green, in the successful civil rights drama, The Help. In Red Tails, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, Oywlowo was allowed to broaden his range further with the “physically demanding” role of 1st Lt. Joe “Lightning” Little. In an article for blackflix, Oyelowo was quick to not only comment on how proud he was being able to take a role that belongs in the history books due to the Airmen’s role in desegregation of the American Armed Forces. Oyelowo also noted on the shortage of opportunities of an all-black leading cast, being able to star in a movie, which didn’t feel like a niche feature, solely aimed at the African American audience. Hollywood mogul George Lucas financed and produced the film himself after gaining no support from the Hollywood studio system, but in the end the film didn’t set the international box office alight, however, Red Tails helped reinforce Oyelowo’s board range of talent to Hollywood.

It was in 2012 in which Oyelowo, first worked with Selma director Ava DuVernay, in the Independent drama, Middle of Nowhere. Gaining strong reviews and positive recognition at the Sundance Selma_Ava_OyelowoFestival, the film was a chance for DuVernay to work with an actor she had long been a fan of. Oyelowo’s role in Middle of Nowhere found itself sandwiched in-between releases of Lee Daniels’ Southern Gothic tale The Paperboy and Steven Spielberg’s historical biopic Lincoln. Oyelowo’s small yet poignant role in Lincoln, as Ira Clark perhaps has one of the most resonant moments of the film. In his most touching scene, the young Clark is reciting one of Lincoln’s most famous addresses, to help highlight his knowledge and admiration of the man. The scene itself is one of the film’s strongest moments.

His role as Louis Gaines in 2013’s The Butler gained Oyelowo even more recognition (NAAC image award for best supporting actor in a Motion picture), however, it was 2014 that has proved to be the one of the highest peaks of David Oyelowo’s career. The actor found him starring in a small but droll role as an ignorant school principle in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar as well as a cagey and corrupt DA in the subtly engaging A Most Violent year. Of course the crowning achievement is Oyelowo’s complex and rousing portrayal of Dr Martin Luther King in Selma. Despite his Golden Globe nomination, many found his lack of nominations to be a snub.

However Oyelowo’s cool, calm demeanour when approaching his role of King in interviews, as well as his upfront and intelligent engagement about race and talent range of black British actors, show that his words alone may provide more inspiration for young black actors, than an award. For Oyelewo we believe…. the sky’s the limit.

Idris Elba would make a good James Bond, says former 007

Written by: Hannah Ellis-Petersen & Jacob Montgomery
Tues 17 February 2015


He is the favoured choice by everyone from Jamie Foxx to Kanye West to step into the debonair shoes of 007. But Idris Elba may have got his most weighty endorsement so far – from a former Bond no less.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Pierce Brosnan, who played the fictional M16 spy in four films between 1994 and 2002, was asked whether he thought Elba would make a good Bond. Responding succinctly, Brosnan said: “Yeah, he would actually.”

Elba has been a championed contender to take over the role when Daniel Craig, 46, eventually steps aside.

But the 42-year-old actor, best known for television roles in The Wire and Luther, and for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela, originally dismissed the speculation, telling ITV’s Lorraine show earlier last year that it was “a rumour that’s gotten out of control, basically, but that’s all it is. There’s no truth in it whatsoever”.

However, the rumour mill was reignited last September when the London-born actor responded to a fan’s question on Reddit about whether he would be willing to take the role, writing: “Yes, if it was offered to me, absolutely.”

In November, the large cache of hacked Sony Pictures’ emails also revealed that the film studios saw Elba as an ideal successor to Craig, with then co-chair Amy Pascal reportedly sending an email that read: “Idris should be the next Bond.” However, Sony have since refused to confirm any future casting for Bond.

Elba initially remained quiet on the subject but later tweeted a picture of himself with the caption “Isn’t 007 supposed to [be] handsome? Glad you think I’ve got a shot!”

The actor, who also moonlights as a DJ and musician, is now establishing himself as firm favourite to take over from Craig, who is only committed to one more Bond film after he finishes filming the next outing of the franchise, Spectre. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine before the release of the previous film, Skyfall, Craig made it clear he is keen to be released from the shackles of Bond.

“I’ve been trying to get out of this from the very moment I got into it,” he said. “But they won’t let me go, and I’ve agreed to do a couple more, but let’s see how this one does.”

A YouGov poll, conducted in December, revealed that Elba was the frontrunner for the Bond job Idris-Elba5among the US public. Even West has given his support for the actor to take on the role, telling the Sun: “James Bond is a role made for British actors and you won’t find a British actor who has the talent of Idris … A black Bond would be visionary no doubt.”

But Elba has repeatedly said he would not want his decision to take on the role to be defined by race.

“I’ve always detested the phrase ‘black Bond’, I just don’t understand it,” he said in his 2014 interview on Lorraine. “We don’t say ‘white Bond’, we just say ‘Bond’ so it suddenly becomes a black man and he’s a ‘black Bond’ so I hate that phrase.”

In an interview with US broadcaster NPR in 2011, he said: “Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.”

Some have argued that casting a black actor would conflict with the fictional ancestry written by Ian Fleming, Bond’s creator. But Fleming is believed to have added the detail about the spy’s mother being born in Switzerland and his father being from Scotland after Sean Connery’s performance in the first film, Dr No.

In December, Rush Limbaugh dismissed Elba as a potential successor to Chester-born Craig because Bond is supposed to be “white and Scottish”.

That view prompted a sharp response from the daughter of Harry Saltzman, producer of the films. “That would be a fair argument if there were no black Scots,” she recently told Wilson Media. “They do exist and have become an important, if not intractable, part of Scottish history.”

“James Bond is fiction. There are far more important realities about the treatment of ethnic minorities … that would show some progress if we spent half the time discussing them as we have a black 007.”

In the interview with the Radio Times, Brosnan also re-emphasised his support for another black actor, Colin Salmon, who he first gave his backing to be the next Bond in 2013. Salmon has previously starred in the Bond films as Charles Robinson, M’s chief of staff, but has yet to state his willingness to take on the lead role.

“May the best man get the job and may Daniel bring home the bacon for as long as he wants,” Brosnan told the Radio Times.

Spectre, which is cbeing shot across London, Rome, Mexico City, Morocco and the Alps, will see Craig joined by a cast including Monica Bellucci, Lea Seydoux and Christoph Waltz, with Ben Wishaw and Naomie Harris reprising their roles as Q and Moneypenny respectively. The film is scheduled for release on 6 November.

© 2015  www.theguardian.com

Article originally appeared here: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/feb/17/idris-elba-good-james-bond-007-pierce-brosnan-film-daniel-craig?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=dlvr.it

The EE BAFTA’S – Winners Round-Up & Usual Diversity Issues!

Written By Graeme Wood



Champagne and back slapping at the ready, it’s another year and another awards ceremony! This years BAFTA film awards held no surprises for anyone who had even a cursory glance through the nominations or looked at award winners so far this year. While there was some worthy winners amongst the technical nominees the big awards could all have been safely predicted ahead of the ceremony.

JK Simmons was a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actor following his mesmerising and powerful performance in Whiplash, as was the critically acclaimed Eddie Redmayne picking up ‘Best Actor’, BAFT_JK-Simmonsfor his touching portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Julianne Moore picked up ‘Best Actress’ but has already received several nominations and prizes for her role in the yet to be seen in the UK movie Still Alice and similarly Patricia Arquette, picking up ‘Best Supporting Actress’, has received several nominations and awards for her turn in Boyhood.

The clear winners of the evening were Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, winning Best Director and Best Film, and James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, picking up ‘Outstanding British Film’ and Adapted Screenplay. Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel were left running just behind with Birdman’s Emmanuel Lubezki picking up the much deserved Cinematography BAFTA. While Wes Anderson’s quirky The Grand Budapest Hotel picked up awards for ‘Costume Design, Make-Up, Music, Production and Best Screenplay’. Damian Chazelle’s Whiplash deservedly picked up the awards for its Editing and Sound the two combined in the film to provide a mesmerising back-drop to JK Simmons and Miles Teller’s powerful performances.

The popular Pride was granted some recognition and picked up the award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The EE ‘Rising Star’ Award had strong competition but the public vote went to ‘71s charismatic Jack O’Connell a choice which also seemed popular with the BAFTA audience.

Surprisingly The Imitation Game which has already had many awards and nominations elsewhere failed to pick up anything despite being nominated in several categories. Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ which failed to light up the box office or critics also missed out on any of the big nominations.

The biggest disappointment from the awards however surely came from the nominations themselves and the films that failed to pick up even a cursory nod from the judging panel. It truly astounds that critically acclaimed and popular films such as Amma Asante’s ‘Belle’ failed to receive a nomination, even for its outstanding costume design, or that the powerful and relevant ‘Selma’ failed to be recognised by the panel. Surely when you have a British talent like David Oyelowo giving a strong performance that is critically acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic it deserves to be recognised? There is also a strong argument that Timothy Spall’s outstanding performance in Mike Leigh’s Mr Turner deserved a place in the Best Actor category.

All eyes are now on the 87th Academy Awards which take place on the 22nd of February, will Boyhood continue its run of wins as Best Picture or will the inclusion of Selma see an Academy turnaround? Can Richard Linklater nab the Best Director Oscar or will Wes Anderson see recognition for The Grand Budapest Hotel. David Oyelowo is missing again from the Best Actor nominations so we might see Eddie Redmayne continue his winning streak although the inclusion of Bradley Cooper and American Sniper’s strong box-office performance may be a surprise winner. Julianne MooreBAFTA_JulianneMoore seems likely at this point to walk away with Best Actress and I’d be very surprised, and a little disappointed, if JK Simmons doesn’t come away with Best Supporting Actor. Patricia Arquette seems likely to continue her winning streak as Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood, though Emma Stone is also a hot contender for her performance in Birdman. While the wonderful Lego Movie managed to pick up Best Animated Feature at this year’s BAFTA it’s bizarrely been missed out of the Oscar nominations so don’t be surprised if Big Hero 6 walks away as this year’s winner.

John Stephen’s and Lonnie Lynn’s ‘Glory’ from Selma has been nominated and is expected to win this year’s ‘Best Song’ Oscar but wouldn’t it be fun if ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego Movie won instead?

It all depends of course on how much relevance you place on the nominations, awards and industry panels against your own preferences and views. Away from the plaudits, box office and competition a bigger issue lay in the representation of our culture and the industry itself. Looking at the BAFTA audience, nominees and winners all many viewers could see were row after row of Caucasian faces and surely this can not be an accurate representation of the diverse body of filmmakers or challenging films that have been produced throughout the last year.

Not so long ago the nominees and audience were full of fresh new hopefuls like Adam Deacon, Noel Clarke, Chiwetel Ejifor, Sophie Okonedo, David Harewood, Idris Elba and some of these have adam_deaconsubsequently found more prominent opportunities and work abroad rather than in the UK. The broadsheets have been quick to point out the lack of diversity from the BAFTA ceremony, particularly Chris Bryant in his column for the Independent. New initiatives (especially from the BFI & TV sector) have become meaningless, which are not worth their weight in hope.

So the debate meanwhile continues but none the less as we have seen over the years there is no significant change. However, it is evident that more work and career opportunities leading to prestige international exposure for minority film industry personnel would certainly bring a higher diversified profile to the UK film industry and so the question must be asked of BAFTA why no recognition for films like; Selma, Belle, Honeytrap, Second Coming and the many other diverse cinema offerings produced from a home-grown pool of black, Asian and minority ethnic talent. A recent Taking Part survey concluded that black and minority ethnic participation in the arts lags nearly 10 per cent behind white participation. It’s a disturbing under-representation for a community that consists of 12 per cent of the total population.

If this year’s BAFTA’s failed to totally represent the cinema audience or the UK talent pool it did however signal a growing strength and confidence in British film making which can only be for the good of the industry as whole (we hope?).

Read Chris Bryant MP Independent Newspaper article here:

Lupita and Idris to unite on screen?


Written by Lee Pinkerton


It just keeps getting better and better for Lupita Nyong’o . With her movie career barely out of nappies, Lupita seems to have turned conventional show-biz wisdom on its head. Until her arrival we know that there were very few roles for Black actresses, and those who did make it through tended to be of the light-skinned or mixed-race variety like Halle Berry or Paula Patton.

But with her supersonic rise to stardom, the Mexican-born, Kenyan actress has Hollywood and the fashion world completely enthralled and shows no sign of slowing down.  Her breakthrough role was in the Oscar winning 12 Years a Slave, with she herself going onto win Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her starring role as Patsey in Steve McQueen’s epic.

Lupita red carpet

During the awards season she commanded more than 65 red carpets from September through March and became the darling of designers everywhere as she effortlessly pulled off Prada to Dior. Nyong’o, 31, has consolidated her foray into fashion by landing a coveted contract with Lancôme Paris, joining Julia Roberts, Penélope Cruz and Kate Winslet as a celeb ambassador for the brand. And last week People Magazine named her as the Most Beautiful Woman on the Planet.

Lupita-People-MagazineTo be touted as beautiful is not lost on the actress, who for years thought she didn’t fit the Hollywood mould.

“Beauty was what I saw on television, you know, light skin and long, flowing, straight hair,” she says. “Subconsciously you start to appreciate those things more than what you possess.”

You would think it could get no better – but yes it has.  It is now rumoured that Lupita will be starring opposite every woman’s favourite Idris Elba in a new movie adaptation of  The Jungle Book.

According to The Hollywood Reporter the 12 Years A Slave actress is in ‘final negotiations’ to play the role of Rakcha,  the mother wolf who adopts the as yet uncast Mowgli.  Shere Khan, the man-eating tiger who will be voiced by Elba.

idris-elbaDisney is behind the latest adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling fairytale, which will be directed by Jon Favreau and blend live action with CGI.

The meteoric rise of Lupita reminds me of one of my favourite sayings.

“Those who say it can’t be done, should keep out of the way of those busy doing it.”

Lee Pinkerton




Written by Lee Pinkerton
7/ 04/ 14



After starring as Nelson Mandela in Long Walk To FreedomIdris Elba is heading back to Africa to star in Cary Fukunaga’s film adaptation of Nigeria author Uzodinma Iweala’s bestselling debut novel Beasts of No Nation.

Red Crown Productions will produce the film adaptation, which follows the journey of a young boy, who is forced to join a group of soldiers in an unnamed West African country. His fledgling childhood brutally shattered by the war raging through his unnamed West African country, the boy finds himself simultaneously fascinated and revolted by the mechanics of war.

Idris Elba will play a lead role of the Commander under whom the boy fights, and will produce the film as well.

“This project has been seven years in the making,” said director Fukunaga, “so to say I’m excited to start shooting this — and with Idris Elba as lead — would be me trying to play it cool. Red Crown has real money standing behind this story.”

In the meantime, actors in the UK take note of the open casting call for the film below ….


Casting Call

IAG are working alongside US producers, as the sole exclusive UK casting directors on the Idris Elba feature film, BONN. If you are suitable and interested in being considered for a role in this film, please upload a self-tape to YouTube lasting no longer that 1 minute speaking in a west african accent and then send the link to bonn@identityagencygroup.com. Please label all tapes on youtube as BONN.

We will not accept tapes sent to any other address.

Please state your name and also forward your email address

These sides are CONFIDENTIAL and should not be passed on.

Tapes should be submitted by Monday 7th April at the latest.

Submitting your Self-Tape

If the agency is impressed with your self-tape we will email you individually with a character and sides to prepare. If we are impressed with your second tape, we will submit this tape to the producers.

Please be off-book for the tapes, speaking in the relevant accent. The performance should be truthful and raw, not caricature. Please have someone read against you who is used to taping, and will not be distracting.

Please do not submit more than one take.



Turmoil as Michael B Jordan Given Role of Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot

Written by Lamar Fergus-Palmer

Michael B Jordan is Johnny Blaze in Fantastic Four Reboot.

MICHAEL-B-JORDAN_HUMAN-TORCH_JOHNNY-STORM_FANTASTIC-FOUR_It’s a story that has continued to rumble on since it was announced, and one that has caused uproar among die-hard comic book, superhero movie fanatics.

The news that has caused controversy is that Michael B Jordan, previously known for his roles as Wallace on The Wire, Alex in Parenthood and Steve Montgomery in the 2012 supernatural movie Chronicles has been handed the role of Johnny Blaze (aka the Human Torch) in the Fantastic Four reboot, which is due to be released in 2015.Fantastic-Four-marvel-comics-5205641-1280-960-650x400

But what has caused the uproar? Is it that because up until this point Michael B Jordan hasn’t had many film roles? Is it that he’s only 27? No, what’s causing an issue among die hard comic book fans is that Michael B Jordon is African-American, and Johnny Blaze (The Human Torch) has always been played by white actors he is also white in the comic books.

So with the above in mind, is an African-American actor cast into a role that was previously seen as a Caucasian role, good news or bad news for the fans of the comic books?

Should the race of the Human Torch matter at all? White, Black, Asian, Hispanic; well I don’t think it should matter at all, after all isn’t this all fiction – in the world of fiction anything can happen cant it?

What’s the real issue for fans?

Die-hard fans of the F4 series are arguing the following:

·         The Human Torch has always been a white character, so why change now?

·         Audiences might be confused by the change.

·         But the ‘main’ point that is being argued; is that with a black Johnny Blaze, you cannot have a fantastic-FF-18R_fwhite Sue Storm (who has already been cast as Kate Mara in the new reboot, a white actress) as the two are historically brother and sister.

Of course, the counter-argument to all the above points is:

·         Many films have made the same change without any issues. For instance, Heimdall, the fictional character, based on the Norse god Heimdallr has been portrayed stoically excellently by Idris Elba in the Thor movies.

·         Furthermore, the family argument makes it sound like there isn’t a mixed-race family in existence? There has never been white & black twins born to the same mother, it’s just impossible by any means. Even more so when you take into account that the film is about four people who go into space and gain superhuman abilities, isn’t everything possible!

Therefore, when logic is applied to the arguments, the change should cause no issues at all. However, that would be far too simple for some.

On the other side of the coin…black super hero fans have finally seen….

The rise of black characters as superheroes and the transformation of original black comic book heroes onto the big screen in recent years.

There have been a number of previously white roles cast to black superheroes over the past few years.

Samuel L Jackson portrays Nick Fury brilliantly.
Don Cheadle has a lead role in Ironman. In fact, for a short time in Ironman 2, he wore the suit and engaged in the action. Anthony Mackie is soon to be seen as Falcon, the sidekick to Captain America in the new Winter Soldier movie due for release on 28th March 2014. Perry White is played brilliantly by Laurence Fishburne in the Superman reboot.

Last but not least, Jamie Foxx spider-man-2-electrowill be Max Dillon/Electro in the new Spiderman 2 reboot, which is due to be released in April 2014.

Even with the above characters and several others, many comic book and superhero film fans are arguing that there are still; not enough black characters in superhero/comic book adaptations on the big screen.

Ultimately, with any movie role, not just in this genre, colour shouldn’t be a controlling factor. Still we understand that black superhero fans may not be too happy to see the Black Panther cast as a Caucasian superhero, but with all the recent changes could black comic-book fans still complain – probably!

As with any film role it should always be that the man or woman cast into a role; should be the person best suited to play that role as chosen by casting, regardless of their race.


This is why there is no doubt in our minds (at Kush Films) that Michael B Jordan will make a fantastic Human Torch, and hopefully he will spur on a new generation of black superhero movie characters for the future.

We here they are looking at making a movie version of the Black Panther, which has been discussed for a number of years and hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.


Anthony Mackie as Falcon

Renaissance 2014 Black Movie Preview


By ReBecca Theodore-Vachon
Dec 27, 2013

black movies 2014

2013 was a win-win for Black cinema with both critically acclaimed movies (“12 Years A Slave,” “Fruitvale Station”) and in the box office (“Best Man Holiday,” “The Butler”).  Now that Hollywood has gotten the message that movies with casts of color are indeed profitable, 2014 promises more dramas, romantic comedies and action thrillers for Black moviegoers.

We’ve compiled a list of some of our most anticipated projects for 2014:

“Ride Along” Starring- Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter

UK Release Date: 07/03/2014

Fast-talking security guard Ben (Kevin Hart)  joins his cop brother-in-law James (Ice Cube)  on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela (Tika Sumpter), James’ sister.


“About Last Night”  Starring- Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart

UK Release Date: 21/03/14

New love for two couples as they journey from the bar to the bedroom and are eventually put to the test in the real world.


“Repentance” Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, Mike Epps

US Release Date: 02/28/2014

An earnest life-coach/author, Thomas Carter (Anthony Mackie), is mysteriously abducted by a deranged client, (Forest Whitaker) who delves into Thomas’ teachings and uses his spiritual messages of Karma – action and reaction (Vipaka), against him to terrorize him and his family for their past sins.


“The Single Moms Club” Starring: Nia Long, Tyler Perry, Amy Smart, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Terry Crews, Cocoa Brown

US Release Date: 03/14/2014

Brought together by a vandalism incident at their children’s school, a group of single mothers from different walks of life bond, and create a support group that helps them find comedy in the obstacles of life.


“A Haunted House 2″ Starring: Marlon Wayans, Liana Mendoza, Dave Sheridan, Iva La’Shawn

US Release Date: 03/28/2014

Having exorcised the demons of his ex, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans)  is starting fresh with his new girlfriend (Jaime Pressly) and her two children. After moving into their dream home, however, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events.


“Belle” Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Susan Brown, Tom Coulston

UK Release Date: 13/06/2014

An illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle.


“Think Like A Man Too” Starring: Gabrielle Union, Megan Good, Regina Hall, Michael Ealy, Romany Malco, Kevin Hart

Release Date: 19/09/2014

All the couples are back for a wedding in Las Vegas, but plans for a romantic weekend go awry when their various misadventures get them into some compromising situations that threaten to derail the big event.



“Get On Up” Starring:  Chad Boseman, Tika Sumpter, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Jill Scott

US Release Date: 08/01/2014

A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.



“Addicted” Starring: Sharon Leal, Kat Graham, Boris Kodjoe, William Levy, Tasha Smith, Tyson Beckford

US Release Date: 09/05/2014

Based on Zane’s bestseller, a woman’s sex addiction threatens to ruin her family life.



“No Good Deed” Starring: Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson

US Release Date: 09/12/2014

A wife and mother of two (Taraji P. Henson), lives an ideal life that takes a turn when her family is threatened by a stranger who talks his way into her house, claiming car trouble. The unexpected invitation leaves her terrorized and fighting for survival.



“The Equalizer”
Starring – Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas

US Release Date: 09/26/2014

Denzel Washington and “Training Day” director Antoine Fuqua reunite for their second feature. Washington plays a covert operative who, seeking redemption for his dark deeds, quits a CIA-like agency and puts a classified advertisement in the paper that reads simply: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer”



“Annie” Starring: Quevanzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Dorian Missick, Cameron Diaz, Tracie Thoms, Rose Byrne

US Release Date: December 19, 2014


Source: http://theurbandaily.com/2013/12/27/2014-black-movie-preview/
© 2013


AFI Fest 2013 Review: ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ Anchored by Strong Performances

by Nijla Mumin
November 13, 2013 1:20 PM


Adapting an autobiography for film always carries a unique set of challenges: making sure to present the subject as fully as the text dictates, but also stepping back for some objectivity and complexity. When the person is Nelson Mandela- the face of the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement- the task becomes even greater.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, and directed by British filmmaker Justin Chadwick, follows Mandela from childhood, to his resistance and leadership within the African National Congress (ANC), his imprisonment, and his long-awaited election as the first black president of South Africa at the close of Apartheid. To capture the extensive amount of action in this period, the film jumps around to different events and people, never spending too much time in one place. An early scene involving Mandela’s alleged adultery in his first marriage, and the family he left behind are given little attention before being overshadowed by later themes and characters.

While the film may have too quick of a timeline, its two stars keep it grounded. During the beginning of the film, it is difficult not to notice that you are looking at a very attractive portrayal of Mandela- the Idris Elba version. I worried that this would take attention away from the story, but it didn’t. Elba gradually transforms into Mandela. Early scenes of him dancing and flirting with women were fun but not as convincing. However, a later scene where he delivers what would become Mandela’s landmark statement during the Rivonia trial showcased his mastery of Mandela’s accent, voice, posture, and presence, culminating in one of the most powerful lines in the film: “It is an ideal for which I’m prepared to die.”

Naomie Harris is a Godsend as his wife and fellow activist Winnie Mandela, showing a delicate balance of tenderness, passion, and anger. While Elba definitely masters Mandela, Harris is endowed with a fascinating character arc in Winnie.  On one of their first dates, Winnie passionately tells Nelson that she “hates” the white Apartheid regime, and they continue to flirt and kiss. Later, when Nelson is imprisoned, Winnie becomes the target of unjust government interrogation and physical abuse. That anger and hatred begin to manifest and grow inside of her. One title sequence reads: “After 16 months in solitary confinement” as she sits frozen in a dank cell, and we are introduced to a new Winnie Mandela. She yells “Amandla Ngawethu” with an earth-shattering force. Harris conveys this character with an incredible range, and we understand why and how Winnie chose a more militant path. Harris’s performance goes up notches through out the film, while is difficult to see that same kind of arc or foundation in Nelson.

In a way, Harris’ and Elba’s portrayals balance out one another, but we are aware that we are watching a great man become greater and nobler, but not always aware of internal conflict in him. Shot in contrasting tones of grays and yellows to match the decay of Robben Island prison juxtaposed with the warm hues of the rural South African landscape, Chadwick wants to convey the many worlds that Mandela experienced, but the treatment of the Apartheid regime was often reduced to scenes of massive shooting and bodies falling. While there is no denying the overwhelming violence during that time, a more distinct and affecting portrayal of the brutality during Apartheid-similar to the psychological toll shown in Winnie- would’ve really elevated the film, and given Mandela a stronger foundation.

Ultimately, this is a film anchored by its performances and reverence for the man it portrays. Harris stands out, adding an unorthodox dimension to the routine biopic format. In those ways, it should encourage viewers to reinvest in Mandela and the spirit and rebellion of the anti-Apartheid movement.

© 2013