Archive for "Angela Bassett"

This Day In Film: “What’s Love Got to Do with It”

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 12:00 am.

(Photo: Touchstone Pictures)

This weekend, marks the anniversary of the biopic on the legendary Tina Turner, which was based on her autobiography I, Tina.

Everyone in Hollywood knew playing the role of Anna Mae Bullock also known as Tina Turner would be award-worthy.  By the early 1990’s Tina was already a legend, respected in every musical circle across the world — one could only dream to play her life story. So, nearly every Black actress sought out the role: Jenifer Lewis, Robin Givens, Janet Jackson, Pam Grier, Halle Berry and Whitney Houston.  The role was offered to Whitney, who had huge box office success with The Bodyguard, but she turned down the part due to pregnancy.

Eventually, the role was given to Angela BassettLaurence Fishburne rejected the role of Ike Turner five times until he learned Bassett was the lead. Cinematic history was made…

Met with controversy and criticism, What’s Love Got to Do with It was a box office smash.  The movie grossed nearly 40 million domestically, won Angela Bassett a Golden Globe and received two Oscar nods.  In addition, the film helped to invigorate Tina Turner’s career, which was already pretty hot.  What’s Love Got to Do with It is one of the greatest biopics made and considered a true classic.

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Review: “The Mountaintop” on Broadway

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 10:00 am.

To tackle the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Broadway you need serious acting chops, a stellar script and a fresh angle to tell a tragic but inspiring story. Written by Katori Hall, The Mountaintop is a huge risk, but one that pays off during an exciting and diverse time on Broadway. The Great White Way has gotten some color in 2011.

The Mountaintop opens tonight on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Directed by Kenny Leon (Fences, Raisin in the Sun) and starring Oscar nominees Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Mountaintop is a fictionalized account of the night before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Birmingham, Alabama. Taking place in a room at the Lorraine Motel, King is forced to face his epic past and inevitable destiny.

Any show that focuses on Dr. King is a challenge — one would think every angle has been squeezed dry out of the civil rights icon. Is there a new way any of us can see Dr. King? Well, Hall and Leon proved there is. Instead of witnessing Saint King, the audience gets to know King as the man: cussing, smoking, drinking and having a sense of humor. Edgy without being disrespectful and as if it was humanly possible, the production offers a deeper appreciation for Dr. King.

A 62-year-old Samuel L. Jackson has the lofty task of embodying a 39-year-old Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With smart theatrical choices, he gave Dr. King a vulnerable layer of humanity. In addition, gone is the loud and brassy Samuel L. Jackson that we’ve seen in films.  In The Mountaintop he is restrained, using subtlety as his strength.

The only other character is Angela Bassett as Camay, a maid at the Lorraine Motel. As we all know, this is a role Bassett took over after Halle Berry dropped out. Bassett attacked this role with fire. Gone is the poised, regal, upstanding roles we’ve all grown to love in her films. Here, she is sassy, country, hollering and with a shocking secret. In addition, Bassett’s final monologue is one to remember. She built the audience up to an emotional arc, garnering cheers from a clearly riveted crowd.

The second half takes a questionable turn and will leave many to debate hours after leaving the theater, which is what the live stage should do — spark dialogue. Moreover, the beauty of The Mountaintop is not limited to the stage.  It was an honor to be in the presence of two great figures in Hollywood who are uniquely continuing the legacy of the great Dr. King.

Undoubtedly, some will be offended by a ballsy portrayal of King and the writer’s use of religion. If you are deeply conservative and seeking an all-American apple pie show, Mountaintop is not the production for you.  However, if you are a lover of creativity and don’t mind having some buttons pushed, you might just reach the theatrical mountaintop.

The Mountaintop opens tonight at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre in New York City.

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‘Waiting To Exhale’ Celebrates 15 Years Today

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Fifteen years ago today a female revolution was set ablaze via the big screen. On December 22, 1995, Waiting to Exhale hit theaters across the country.

Waiting to Exhale was the film version of Terry McMillan’s best-selling novel of the same name. Four women in Phoenix, Arizona are holding their breath until that one good man comes along. Women from all walks of life could relate to the soon-to-be divorcee, the woman who was in love with a married man, the woman who was in love with a man who was no good for her, and the woman who was still in love with her ex-husband.

The film starred Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, Lela Rochon, and Whitney Houston in her first role since The Bodyguard. In addition, Forest Whitaker directed the film. Waiting to Exhale was met with mixed reviews, mainly because of Whitaker’s directing style that some claimed was too gentle for a novel that had so much edge. However, most agreed that Angela Bassett and former Broadway Dreamgirl, Loretta Devine, stole the movie.

Bassett’s character setting her husband’s belongings on fire or Devine’s character inviting her new neighbor over for dinner – ”It’s just leftovers. Collard greens and corn bread, some candied yams, a little potato salad, fried chicken, peach cobbler and a few slices of ham.” — Those scenes are legendary.

The Waiting to Exhale Soundtrack was just as memorable.  Produced by Babyface, the soundtrack included songs with Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton and of course Whitney Houston, who got a #1 hit with “Exhale (Shoop Shoop).” The album was #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart for five weeks and within a year of its release went 7x platinum.

Waiting to Exhale brought in over $14 million its opening weekend and grossed over $80 million worldwide. The film was the 26th highest grossing film of 1995.  Earlier this year, there was talk of the original cast reuniting for a Waiting To Exhale sequel.

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5 Roles Angela Bassett Should’ve Played

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Angela Bassett has had an amazing career — What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Boyz N The Hood, Malcolm X and she is an Oscar nominee.  So, this isn’t to say that Ms. Bassett isn’t a working actress, but she certainly is underrated.  Then again, the woman is so talented there aren’t enough accolades that could properly praise her.  That said, here are my selections for five roles that I would’ve loved to have seen go to Angela Bassett.

5. Contact, Dr. Eleanor Ann Arroway played by Jodie FosterAlthough Angela Bassett played Rachel Constantine, the White House Chief of Staff to President Clinton, in the science fiction epic, I always thought she should’ve been the lead. While I love Jodie Foster, in my mind I envision Bassett went for the lead role but of course Hollywood went for Foster. Bassett would’ve been just as powerful as a woman grappling with her father’s death and the need to discover life on other planets.

4. The Kids Are All Right, Nic played by Annette Benning This may not be a film that is on your radar, but it’s certainly one of the best movies of the year, which also included YaYa DaCosta. Annette Benning plays one half of a lesbian couple whose two kids are searching for their sperm donor of a father.  The comedy-drama is a human take on the complexity of relationships, straight or gay.  While this would be an edgy role for Bassett, it’s the type of character in which she could show those other-worldly acting chops.

3. Salt, Evelyn Salt played by Angelina JolieWhy not? The action-packed, femme fatale flick would’ve been just as explosive with a sista — and probably would’ve gotten better reviews with Angela Bassett. The original plot was a girl whose family was killed by Russian militants. By posing as an ally to Russians, her goal is to destroy them. Replace Russian with Somali, Cuba, Liberia — whatever you like and you have Angela Bassett as a Black female action character, which we haven’t seen in years.

2. Thelma and Louise, played by Geena Davis and Susan SarandonDavis and Sarandon are some of the best actresses of our time. Both received Oscar nominations for their role in this feminist classic, but Thelma and Louise with Angela would’ve added some unique flavor. One, to show the diversity of American friendships and two, these standard chick flicks always lack color. Angela would’ve excelled in either role.

1. X-Men, Storm played by Halle BerryThis is a no-brainer. Halle Berry is a genius and I liked the sensitivity she gave Storm, but Bassett would’ve made Storm the epic African goddess that she was in the comics. At the time of the first X-Men in 2000, fans of the comic were upset about the selection of Berry. Who knows how close Bassett came to the role, but the Harlem native would’ve rocked that role like a hurricane!

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Angela Bassett Lands ABC Series

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 10:22 am.

More movie actors are jumping from the big screen to television series.  Once upon a time there was a stigma to go from film to tv but thankfully Hollywood is realizing work is work and Angela Bassett can make any role work. is reporting:

Angela Bassett has come on board the drama project One Police Plaza, which is in development at ABC. The project, from ABC Studios and studio-based Mark Gordon Co., centers on New York City’s first female commissioner, to be played by Bassett. Linda Fairstein and Kenneth L. Solarz are writing the script and will executive produce One Police Plaza with Gordon and Deborah Spera.

This is a role I’m looking forward to see Bassett tackle.  But, she is not done with film, she has roles in Green Lantern and Jumping the Broom, which includes Paula Patton and Tasha Smith.


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Original Cast of ‘Waiting To Exhale’ Might Return For Sequel

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 10:00 am.

Terry McMillan’s sequel to the successful Waiting To Exhale is Getting To Happy.  The book will definitely be a movie and word on the street is that the original cast might return for the film version.

For those who don’t remember, the original cast included Angela Bassett as Bernadine Harris, Whitney Houston as Savannah Jackson, Lela Rochon as Robin Stokes (a role that both Robin Givens and Halle Berry wanted) and Loretta Devine as Gloria Matthews. The film was also directed by Forest Whitaker and included small roles from Wesley Snipes, Dennis Haysbert, Leon and Donald Faison.

Waiting To Exhale was a huge hit in 1995, grossing over $80 million and the 26th grossing film of that year. Also, the soundtrack was unforgettable — what I wouldn’t give to have Babyface return for one of those various artists albums he was known for!

The original cast is a must and it’s a good look to see Whitney return to the screen in a role that people loved her in.

Do you want to see a sequel to Waiting To Exhale?

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Angela Bassett ‘Jumping the Broom’ With Paula Patton and Laz Alonso

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 12:00 am.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Oscar nominee Angela Bassett will join the cast of Salim Akil’s Jumping the Broom. The film includes Paula Patton, Loretta Devine and Laz Alonso. According to The Hollywood Reporter:

“Broom” revolves around the clash of two black families from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum meeting for the first time during a weekend wedding in Martha’s Vineyard.

Bassett will play Patton’s mother, an heiress and a pillar of the Washington elite. Miller plays Patton’s cousin, a senior at Yale. Alonso will play Patton’s love interest. Shooting begins in early summer in Nova Scotia.

Black romantic comedies haven’t had a good run at the box office lately even with some heavy star power. Hopefully, Jumping the Broom can end the streak!


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Perry and Bassett Making Moves

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 12:01 am.

tperryangelaLionsgate is keeping the cash rolling in by signing on for two more Tyler Perry films, Why Did I Get Married Too and I Can Do Bad All by Myself.  Perry will write, direct and star in both of the films. In addition, Taraji P. Henson will star in I Can Do Bad All by Myself and everyone from the original cast of Why Did I Get Married? will join for the sequel — even Miss Janet. According to Variety, “Bad, which features Perry’s Madea character, is set for release Sept. 11. Why Did I Get Married Too, a sequel to 2007’s Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married, has been set for release on April 2, 2010, the start of next year’s Easter weekend.

Oscar nominee Angela Bassett is turning director in the movie United States, along with her husband Courtney Vance. According to the Hollywood Reporter, ‘The actress will make her directorial debut with United States, an indie feature she will also produce with her Bassett/ Vance Prods. partner and husband Courtney B. Vance.

States, based on the novel Erasure by Percival Everett, is a dramatic comedy about Monk Ellison, a prominent black literary figure who writes a faux autobiography from the perspective of a barely literate hoodlum to decry what is wrong with the glorification of ‘ghetto’ culture. But when the book is lauded as a possible contender for the National Book Award, he must choose between pride and fame.”

Congrats to Angela Bassett! It is good to hear about more women of color behind the scenes.

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Top Black Actresses of all Time

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 12:05 am.

We always hear about the success of Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Eddie Murphy.  However, who are the top black actresses of all time *according to their box office gross*?  Check out the official list below.

10. Jennifer Hudson (3 films)
To have only been in three films and manage to be one of the top black actresses of all time is amazing for Oscar, Grammy, SAG and Golden Globe winner Jennifer Hudson.  The woman definitely has a long career ahead of her.

Lifetime gross: $293,750,056
#1 movie: Sex and the City $152,647,258

9. Beyonce Knowles (5 films)
abey1The singer turned actresses has only been in five films, but Austin Powers in Goldmember racked in over $200 million, placing Sasha Fierce at number 8.

Lifetime gross: $437.3 (5 films)
#1 movie: Austin Powers in Goldmember $213.3

8. Thandie Newton (22 films)

The UK actress has always been known for her respectable and critically acclaimed roles. From Beloved to Mission Impossible, Newton is a mainstay in cinema from Hollywood to London.

Lifetime gross:$664.9
#1 movie: Mission: Impossible II $215.4

7. Nia Long (22 films)

The Brooklyn born Nia Long has worked with Whoopi Goldberg, Jude Law and Will Smith. She ranks #6.

Lifetime gross: $691,414,242
#1 movie: Big Momma’s House (1999) $117.6

6. Angela Bassett (24 films)

The Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee has become one of the world’s most highly respected actresses for films like What’s Love Got To Do With It?, Waiting To Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

Lifetime gross: $750,045,528 (24 films)
#1 movie: The Score (2001) $71.1

5. Regina King (18 films)
While she is considered one of the most underrated actresses of this generation, her box office numbers proves she is a draw.  According to, Her films have grossed more than Kate Winslet, Terrence Howard and Jodie Foster.

Lifetime gross: $1,050,799,524
#1 movie: Jerry Maguire $274,000,000

4. Jada Pinkett Smith (21 films)

Jada Pinkett Smith has a diverse range of films from the hood classic Menace II Society to The Matrix.  She manages to rank at #4.

Lifetime gross: $$1,417,189,353
#1 movie: The Matrix Reloaded $281.6

3. Queen Latifah (28 films)

Queen Latifah is an Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner. Credited for 26 films and starring in 13, Latifah’s biggest paycheck was 10 million for Beauty Shop in 2005. At this rate,  the Newark native could easily become the top black actress of all time.

Lifetime gross: $$1,431,366,338
#1 movie: Ice Age 2 $195.3

2. Halle Berry (27 films)
It might surprise some people that  Halle Berry isn’t the top grossing black actress of all time.  She’s had six movies that grossed over 100 million and received 14million dollars to star in Catwoman, which was an international bomb.  Nonetheless, she was the first black woman to receive this much for a film.

Lifetime gross: $1,592,734,690
#1 movie: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) $234.4

1.  Whoopi Goldberg (46 films)

The Oscar-winner for Ghost has been a movie star since 1985. She is credited for 46 films and at the peak of Whoopi’s career she was paid 7 million for her role in 1993’s Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

Lifetime gross: $1,800,253,561
#1 movie: The Lion King (1994) $312,900,000

All numbers are from, and

* All numbers are approximate.

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‘Notorious’ is in theatres today!

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, January 16, 2009 at 10:10 am.


Notorious is in theaters today!  Starring Angela Bassett, Anthony Mackie, Derek Luke and Jamal Woodard as the late-great Notorious B.I.G.  The film, which is produced by Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, takes the audience on a trip down memory lane during the era of mid-nineties hip-hop and R&B.  All of your old school favorites are brought to life like Lil’ Kim, Faith Evans and Lil’ Cease.

The Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed nearly twelve years ago.  His murder is still unsolved and he was only 24 years-old.  This movie is a tribute to Biggie’s legacy and his impact on hip-hop and pop culture.

Check our interview with Angela Bassett, who plays Biggie’s mother.  Also, view the clip below!

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