EXCLUSIVE: In her first screen starring turn since the ferocious portrayal as an abusive mother in 2009′s Precious won her the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, Mo’Nique has joined Isaiah Washington in the Patrik Ian Polk-directed Blackbird, an adaptation of the novel by Larry Duplechan. Deadline revealed last fall that Washington took the lead in this indie off his turn as the DC sniper in Blue Caprice got him a Gotham Award nom. The pic just shot in Hattiesburg, MS.
Related: Isaiah Washington Turns It Around In ‘Blackbird’
Mo’Nique is also exec producer with her husband, Sidney Hicks, through Hicks Media. Newcomer Julian Walker plays the star singer in the church choir who feels like a misfit in his high school and struggles with his sexual awakening and the realization he is gay, something that doesn’t land well in a religiously conservative small Mississippi town. This coincides with his younger sister going missing and his parents splitting up. Mo’Nique plays another character who’s not going to win mother of the year awards: the youth’s heartbroken mom, who blames her son’s lifestyle revelation for his sister going missing. Washington plays his supportive father trying his best to help his son’s transition to manhood. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: James Badge Dale will be joining Cate Blanchett in writer-director David Mamet‘s thriller Blackbird. Dale plays a military major who is trying to discover the truth about the political secrets of a woman’s grandfather who worked for the U.S. special ops during the 1960s. Currently, Dale is performing in the off-Broadway play Small Engine Repair and recently completed filming three pictures: Universal’s Stretch directed by Joe Carnahan (they previously teamed on The Grey), Miss Meadows opposite Katie Holmes, and the Civil War drama Relative Stranger. He’s repped by CAA, MJ Management and attorney Geoff Oblath.
Isaiah Washington, whose run on Grey’s Anatomy ended when he got caught up in a scandal in which cast mates said had used homophobic slurs, has just finished Blackbird, a film by writer/director Patrik-Ian Polk. Washington plays the sympathetic father of a talented teen singer who is gay and struggling with it in a small Southern Baptist town. Washington produced with Polk and Carol Ann Shine with Keith Brown the exec producer. Washington, repped by Inqlusion Entertainment and Anderson & Smith, is getting strong reviews for the Alexander Moors-directed Blue Caprice, which premiered at Sundance and gets released this week by IFC, and he recently starred in the SXSW film They Die By Dawn. He is also developing a reality-based sports and outdoor adventure show with Wayne Hubbard and Candice Price’s Urban American Adventures brand.
EXCLUSIVE: Relativity is acquiring worldwide rights to Blackbird, which The Secret Life Of Bees helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood will direct from her script. Relativity will finance the film and distribute. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is producing with Stephanie Allain. The film is to star Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nate Parker and Danny Glover. Blackbird is the story of Noni Jean, a hot new artist who has just won a Grammy and is primed for stardom. But the pressures of success compel her to nearly end her life until she is saved by a young police officer. They fall hard for each other, despite the protests of their parents who want each to focus on their own career ambitions. But he might be the missing piece to unlock her artistic potential.
Relativity president Tucker Tooley is exec producing with Matt Alvarez and Reggie Bythewood. Mbatha-Raw is represented by CAA, Principal Entertainment and Curtis Brown; Parker is repped by WME and ROAR and Glover by ICM Partners and Kritzer Levine Wilkins Griffin Nilon Entertainment.