A Lesson Before Dying (1999) - News Poster

(1999 TV Movie)

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Hulu Wants to Be Your New Netflix, Hiring AMC’s Programming Boss to Help Plan The Attack

Hulu’s ready to go beast mode, and has recruited AMC’s programming chief to help it grow its footprint as one of TV’s key streaming services.

Joel Stillerman, who spent nearly 10 years at AMC Networks – most recently as president of original programming and development for AMC and Sundance TV – has been named Hulu’s first-ever chief content officer.

Stillerman’s mandate? Come up with a content strategy that will grow Hulu’s advertising revenue (don’t forget, unlike Netflix, a good chunk of Hulu’s users see ads) and subscriber growth.

Hulu’s subscriber base was around 12 million last year, and at its upfront presentation last week, the company reported 47 million total unique viewers. But it still has a way to go to catch up to competitors Netflix and Amazon: According to eMarketer, Netflix boasts around 128 million individual users this year, while Amazon has around 85.3 million viewers.

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See full article at Indiewire »

Colossus: The Forbin Project & The Taking Of The Pelham One Two Three Director Joseph Sargent Dead At 89

The director that epitomized the 1970’s, Joseph Sargent, has sadly passed away. (1925-2014)

With a career lasting 50 years, Sargent brought to the big screen such thrilling cinema as The Taking Of The Pelham One Two Three, MacArthur, White Lightning and Colossus: The Forbin Project.

Directors Guild of America President Paris Barclay made the following statement upon learning of the passing of director Joseph Sargent:

“When it comes to directing Movies for Television, Joe’s dominance and craftsmanship was legendary – for the past 50 years. With eight DGA Awards nominations in Movies for Television, more than any other director in this category, Joe embodied directorial excellence on the small screen. He was unafraid of taking risks, believing in his heart that television audiences demanded the highest quality stories – whether chronicling uncomfortable historic events like the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study in Miss Evers’ Boys, or compelling personal stories about inspiring individuals like
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Mekhi Phifer: Screams From Broadway Audience 'Exhilirating'

Mekhi Phifer: Screams From Broadway Audience 'Exhilirating'
New York -- Mekhi Phifer is not used to being shouted at, but it's part of his Broadway debut.

The 37-year-old actor, best known for the TV series "ER" and the film "8 Mile," is discovering that audiences aren't silent while watching him in "Stick Fly," Lydia R. Diamond's complex drama about a black family.

"People are spirited when they see this play," he says, laughing.

Both white and black audience members in the Cort Theatre are known to burst out with spontaneous advice for the actors or to otherwise clearly telegraph their reaction to dramatic situations. "I had to get used to that," he says. "It's not very typical for Broadway – at least the Broadway plays that I've seen."

Phifer plays Flip LeVay, a successful plastic surgeon and ladies' man who attended Exeter and Harvard. Sparks fly when he and his younger brother bring their respective girlfriends – one black, one
See full article at Huffington Post »

Universal Wants Writer Ann Peacock to Re-Imagine Cinderella

Disney made headway on a new live-action Cinderella last month with the hire of director Mark Romanek.  But as we've seen with the dueling Snow White movies, the appeal of fairy tales---known properties in the public domain---is too great for just one studio.  Universal is throwing their hat into the ring, and according to Variety, the studio is turning to Ann Peacock for help.  Peacock is in final negotiations to rewrite an "untitled reimagining of the fairy tale" from an earlier draft by Michael Dougherty.  Specific plot details are under wraps, but barring any drastic changes, the premise should look familiar when Universal is ready to go public with the synopsis: a young girl is whisked away from her terrible home situation by her fairy godmother to a magical ball where she meets the aptly named Prince Charming. Peacock's credits are diverse, from Kit Kittredge: An American Girl to The Killing Room
See full article at Collider.com »

Laura Linney Skipped Golden Globes Due to Dad's Death

Sunday, January 16 could have been Laura Linney's best day but the actress is grieving her father's death instead. One day before the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards where Laura won Best Actress in TV Comedy, 80-year-old Romulus Linney died in his Germantown, New York home after a long battle of lung cancer.

Romulus is a prolific playwright who had written more than 30 plays including "A Lesson Before Dying" which was performed Off-Broadway in September 2000. Most of his stories are set in Appalachia because he's familiar with it while growing up in the South. Beside writing, Romulus is also a professor who taught at Columbia and Princeton universities, Hunter College and The New School.

Before his death, Romulus had been working on a novel and had completed the libretto for an opera based on one of his plays, The Associated Press said. Laura Callanan, who is Romulus' third wife and Laura Linney's step-mother,
See full article at Aceshowbiz »

Identifying Trends In Novels About Black People Made Into Films

Late last week, after I saw For Colored Girls, I got into a conversation with Ms Cynthia (who works behind-the-scenes here at Shadow And Act) about the kinds of books written by black authors, that tell stories primarily about black people, that have been optioned and made (or will soon be made) into films.

We all know by now that Hollywood loves to adapt novels (amongst other kinds of original sources), and during our conversation I realized that there might indeed be a pattern or two worth noting, when one looks at the “black novels” that have been given big screen treatment.

One common complaint I’ve heard about the For Colored Girls adaptation is that the material is a yet another woman-centered black pathology tale, and a lot of you aren’t interested in that kind of narrative anymore, and understandably so. I think a lot of us feel the same way.
See full article at ShadowAndAct »

Actors Casting Directors Love: Part 1

Ellen Lewis on Michael ShannonWhen I was asked to write about an actor I love, Michael Shannon immediately jumped into my mind. It probably stems from the fact that I'm from Chicago, where Michael lived and worked for many years.In 1998 Paula Muzik, an agent in Chicago, called to tell me about Michael, who was coming to New York in the play "Killer Joe." There was an intensity and disturbing quality to Michael's performance in "Killer Joe." Combined with his physical presence and dark humor, he slightly frightened you. He was unlike any actor I had seen before, and it was exciting to think about the roles one could try him for.Years later I was casting "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" for Sidney Lumet. Sid's office at the time was at Sound One. Casting for Sidney, as other casting directors can attest, is an amazing experience—and unusual,
See full article at Backstage »

The Long Lonely Walk of Injustice

The deadly verdict of the Jim Crow laws will not be swayed in The Black Theatre Troupe.s production of A Lesson Before Dying, by Romulus Linney which runs February 18-28, 2010 at the Playhouse on the Park, Viad Center, Downtown Phoenix, under the direction of Edward G. Smith

Based on Ernest J. Gaines' prize-winning novel, a young man is to be executed for a murder he probably did not commit. But in Louisiana in 1948 the question is not whether or not young Jefferson will be executed but how he will face his ultimate fate.

A Lesson Before Dying, his eighth and latest novel, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and even achieved pop culture attention garnered as an Oprah Book Club Selection. Gaines is Professor of Emeritus of English at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

A Lesson Before Dying is produced by Black Theatre Troupe, and runs
See full article at Arizona Reporter »

'Woods' telepic on path to CBS

CBS has greenlighted Pictures of Hollis Woods, a Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm to star Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek, nominee Alfre Woodard and James Tupper.

Based on Patricia Reilly Giff's book, Woods centers on 12-year-old Hollis Woods (Jodelle Ferland) who, after being abandoned as a baby, has bounced around the foster-care system until she meets a quirky retired art teacher Josie (Spacek) who understands her and gives her unconditional love. However, Josie's difficulty remembering things gets progressively worse, and Hollis becomes the caregiver.

Woodard will play the girl's more than patient social worker. Tupper will play a husband and father of Hollis' previous foster family who wanted to adopt her until tragedy struck.

Emmy winner Ann Peacock (A Lesson Before Dying) adapted the book to the small screen. Tony Bill (Flyboys) is directing the film, which is in production in Victoria, B.C.

Brent Shields (The Valley of Light) is executive producing. Dan Paulson (Full Court Miracle) is producing.

'Lion' stakes out territory under new N.Z. grant plan

'Lion' stakes out territory under new N.Z. grant plan
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand's next potential Lord of the Rings-type multipicture franchise, Walden Media's adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, will be the first production to tap into the country's new Large Budget Screen Production Grant plan, which has just been finalized. Under the plan, announced in July, film and TV productions that spend at least NZ$15 million ($9.6 million) in New Zealand will qualify for a 12.5% rebate. The first of what could be seven films based on The Chronicles of Narnia cycle of books by C.S. Lewis will be directed by New Zealander Andrew Adamson (Shrek) and will start preproduction in Auckland early next year. A mid-2004 shoot is envisioned in New Zealand's South Island with Mark Johnson (The Alamo) producing. The screenplay is by Ann Peacock (Lesson Before Dying).

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