Archive for "Queen Latifah"

10 Actors Who Turned Down Famous Roles

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Roles make the rounds in Hollywood several times before it lands its actor.  Check out some of the huge films that big stars passed by; some for the good and some for the bad.

10. Denzel Washington as Curtis in Dreamgirls (2006)?

I could not see Denzel Washington playing Curtis in Dreamgirls, but it would’ve made the cast even more A-list.  Dreamgirls was “The Jennifer Hudson Movie,” saving the entire story. Nonetheless, Washington gave the right answer on this one and Jamie Foxx took the role.

9. Halle Berry in Gigli (2003)?

The movie that nearly ruined Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s careers is a role that Berry thankfully passed on. She was offered to play Lopez’s character. While she passed on Gigli, Catwoman was released in 2004… no comment.

8. Samuel L. Jackson as Morpheus in The Matrix (1999)?

We always think Sam Jackson never turns down a role, but he actually rejected Morpheus from The Matrix. The film went on to become one of the most successful films of all time.

7. Dave Chappelle as Bubba in Forrest Gump (1994)?

David Chappelle turned down the role as the shrimp-obsessed Bubba in Forrest Gump. He supposedly said no because he thought the film would “bomb.” Bad call!

6. Tina Turner as Shug Avery in The Color Purple (1985)?

Steven Spielberg campaigned to get Tina Turner to play Shug Avery in The Color Purple. Anna Mae declined saying she lived that life with Ike Turner. Spielberg had the right vision; Turner would’ve channeled her country roots and sang “Sister” from her Nutbush, Tennessee soul. Nonetheless, Margaret Avery was spectacular and nominated for an Oscar.

5. Jada Pinkett Smith in Charlie’s Angels (2000)?

Jada Pinkett Smith was the original angel, in the movie that starred Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore. Jada declined and starred in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (2000). Bamboozled was a critical and box office disaster; however, it is one of my favorite Spike Lee films and I adored Jada in the role. Plus, Jada is Mrs. Smith… ain’t like she is struggling. Lucy Liu took Jada’s role in Charlie’s Angels.

4. Queen Latifah in Monster’s Ball (2001)?

Rumors have buzzed for years that Angela Bassett was truly offered the lead (the creators claimed Bassett was never approached for the role) in Monster’s Ball and turned it down because she felt it portrayed Black women in a negative light. Queen Latifah is the only actress who clearly said she had the role and wanted it, “I actually had that role before Halle. But they couldn’t set it up. It would have been me, Sean Penn and Robert De Niro.”

3. Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Amistad (1997)?

Spielberg wanted Cuba Gooding, Jr. to play Djimon Hounsou’s role in Amistad. A regretful Gooding once said, “Steven Spielberg came to me and said, ‘I want you to be in Amistad,’ and I said, ‘It’s a slave role; show me the money. I’m so a big thing,’ and he goes, ‘I can direct you,’ and I said, ‘No, I have to pass.’” Cuba admits he was too big-headed after winning the Oscar for Jerry Maguire.

2. Lauryn Hill as Deena Jones in Dreamgirls (2006)?

Over ten years ago, word on the street was that Lauryn Hill was picked to play Deena Jones (played by Beyonce) in the film version of Dreamgirls.  However, it fell through. I think Hill would’ve been a stellar pick for Deena Jones. She is immensely talented and more focused on the art than awards.

1. Dorothy Dandridge as Tuptim in The King and I (1956)?

This probably isn’t a movie you’ve seen, but the legendary Dorothy Dandridge pursued the role. When she discovered the role was not the lead and a slave role, she turned it down with her management’s advice. Dandridge, like many Black actresses of her time, was torn with playing a slave or maid. As Hattie McDaniel once said, “I’d rather play a maid then be one!” The iconic Rita Moreno took the role Tuptim and it was an international success. Dandridge once said she believed her turning down that character was the beginning of her downfall in Hollywood.

Still, Dandridge was one of the Black actors who set a standard and was selective of their movies. We don’t have to take what we don’t want. From Cuba to Tina, this is our decision… even if they made some regrets along the way.
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This Day in Film: ‘Set It Off’

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:00 am.

Fourteen years ago today, the action-crime drama Set It Off opened in theaters nationwide.  This was F. Gary Gray’s second film, the first being Friday in 1995.  In many ways, Set It Off was a first of its kind, starring four Black women as bank robbers.  Also, it didn’t hurt that the film featured some of the favorite Black actresses of the time, Vivica Fox, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah and newcomer Kimberly Elise.

The ladies played women who were stuck in the poverty of Los Angeles, California. Ironically, none of the leads were from California. After Fox’s character is blamed for a robbery at the bank she worked at and is wrongfully fired from her job, the women start robbing banks on their own, hoping it will be a way out of their neighborhood.

The movie stirred some controversy with Queen Latifah playing a lesbian character, causing many to question her sexuality.  Fans credit her performance as Cleo as one of the best in her career.

The film was extremely violent for its time and had some hardcore action scenes. But, at its heart the storyline focused on friendship, and with its tear-jerker ending, Set It Off grossed nearly $42 million.

Check out the vintage trailer below.


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Top Five Black Holiday Movies

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 11:15 am.

Now that Halloween is gone, holiday movies are already on heavy rotation.  It’s easy to remember holiday classics like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol.  However, if you want to check out holiday movies with a lil’ color, this list is for you.

5. Last Holiday (2006)

There have been a string of Black holiday films (Perfect Holiday, This Christmas) in the past five years, but one could argue the success of Queen Latifah’s Last Holiday rejuvenated the trend.  The film is a remake from 1955 with Latifah playing a woman who finds out she only has weeks to live.  She spends her last holiday doing all the things she never had a chance to do.  Latifah’s presence carries the film and her co-star, LL Cool J, adds some flavor.

4.  A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)

A fun, light-hearted film — and any excuse to see Vanessa Williams on camera is a plus.  Before Williams was a diva on Desperate Wives she played Ebony Scrooge (Ebenezer Scrooge – get it?) in the 2000 VH1 production, A Diva’s Christmas Carol, a modern and divalicious remake of Charles DickensA Christmas CarolA Diva’s Christmas Carol is an amusing watch and includes appearances from Brian McKnight and Chilli of TLC.

3.  Holiday Heart (2000)

Ving Rhames in drag is more like a horror flick during Halloween; however,  for better or worse, Holiday Heart is a classic.  Rhames is a drag queen named Holiday who is a staunch Christian.  Wanda (Alfre Woodard) is trying to care for her daughter while battling drugs.  Rhames becomes a parental figure with the story’s climax hitting on Christmas Eve.

2. The Preacher’s Wife (1996)

The Preacher’s Wife would be Whitney Houston’s last big screen film appearance and probably her best acting to date.  The Preacher’s Wife starred Oscar winner Denzel Washington and was a story about a preacher who prays for help with his struggling church.  His prayers are answered with the help of an angel (Denzel Washington) who falls for the preacher’s wife — Whitney Houston’s character.  A great holiday film for the entire family.  Plus, Nippy belts out her hit “I Believe in You and Me.”

1.  The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990)

A made-for-television movie that was produced by Eddie Murphy Productions and starred Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Della Resse, and marks Sammy Davis Jr.’s last film appearance.  The Kid Who Loved Christmas is a touching story about a child whose only wish is to be with his father for Christmas.  While not well known, one would think with all its star power that the movie would at some point make it to DVD.

Happy Holidays!

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‘Just Wright’ on DVD Today

Published by Clay Cane on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Just Wright starring Queen Latifah and Common is available on DVD today.  The romantic comedy opened in theaters in May and has grossed over $21 million.  BET.com talked to Common about the DVD release — read the interview here.

In his first leading role, Common played Scott McKnight, a basketball player who finds love with his physical therapist (Queen Latifah) after he is injured on the court.  The cast also included Laz Alonso, Paula Patton and television icon Phylicia Rashad.

The DVD includes cast interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and more. Here is the breakdown:

Blu-ray With Digital Copy Special Features:

Disc One

The One You Can’t Live Without
Common on the Fast Break
When Amazing Happens
Gag Reel
Live Extras – What’s New

Disc Two

Digital Copy – feature film

Single-Disc DVD Special Features

The One You Can’t Live Without
Common on the Fast Break
Gag Reel

Check out when Common was on The Mo’Nique Show.

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Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah Team Up

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, August 23, 2010 at 12:00 am.

Queen Latifah and the legendary country icon Dolly Parton seem like an unlikely couple, but the two are teaming up for a film according to The Hollywood Reporter:

Dolly Parton is returning to the big screen to duet with Queen Latifah in the feature “Joyful Noise,” which centers around two women who join forces to prevent a small-town gospel choir from shutting down.

This will be Dolly Parton’s first return to film since 1992.  Of course Latifah is a bonafide actress and Oscar nominee.  Here is the dish on their characters:

Latifah will play the mother of two teens who is put in charge of the Pacashau Gospel Choir after the death of its choir director, while Parton will appear as the choir director’s widow who hopes to take over her late husband’s job.

Sounds like a fun film, but I love the idea of Parton and Latifah teaming up.  This will bring together two opposite fan bases for the both of them!

SOURCE

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Ready For Just Wright? Common and Latifah Talk Their New Film

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

justwrightJust Wright is in theaters tomorrow and BET.com had an additional sit down with Queen Latifah and Common.

Just Wright is a Sex and the City meets Love & Basketball, Scott McKnight falls for the wrong girl but after a knee injury he discovers a woman, Leslie Wright, who heals his injury and his heart.

Just Wright is Common’s first leading role and Latifah first leading role since 2008’s The Secret Life of Bees.  There is talk of basketball, groupies and love scenes — check out the video below!

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Guest Blogging: Actress J’Nara Corbin On ‘Just Wright’

Published by Clay Cane on Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 11:50 am.

jnaracorbinAs the harsh New York winter finally makes way for spring, I find myself breathing in new life with the anticipation of fresh possibilities. The warmer weather brings winds of change and gentle breezes laced with potential love — as you folks know, spring cleaning comes in many forms!  Most people put away heavy coats. Others throw away old ideas, welcoming new ways of looking at love and life. The latest Fox Searchlight flick, Just Wright, is the perfect transition movie for viewers ready to embrace change, making room for romance.

Queen Latifah’s modern-day Cinderella story is a grown up fairy tale that forces the audience to accept the good, bad and ugly of a mature relationship. Latifah’s character, Leslie Wright, is a laid back, basketball-loving physical therapist from Jersey looking for a Prince Charming that can see beyond her tomboyish ways and view her as the queen she truly is. Scott McKnight is played by Common (there’s a man that’s just right!) is just the prince to recognize her royalty.

It’s not love at first sight by any means. This love took time, trust — and the dramatic exit of a trollop! Paula Patton plays Morgan, the Louis Vuitton-lusting woman hoping to make a husband out of Scott McKnight.  While Leslie made first contact with the neighborhood boy-turned-New Jersey Nets sensation, Morgan left nothing to chance and snatched Scott up, armed with a push-up bra and honed-in “Ho-Dar.”

Soon, Scott hits rock bottom with a knee injury on the court.  Leslie takes her passion for basketball and her skills as a physical therapist to pick him up. With tough love and laughter Leslie heals Scott’s knee and his heart.

That is real love boys and girls! Seeing a person when they are down and out, helping them get back on their feet (literally!), and realizing that what a person does for a living is not an indicator of who they are as a person. Many women and men should take note of that lesson.

I decided to walk home from the theatre on a warm Manhattan night. A mere 20-some-odd-block trek was welcomed with a smile. Although I knew the chances of running into my special someone during my evening stroll was slim to none, I walked away from Just Wright knowing that he would most definitely show up right on time.

Just Wright is in theaters nationwide Friday, May 14.

J’Nara Corbin is a New York City-based actress and model. She is starring in the film, Finding Me: Truth, which is in theaters this summer.  For more of her work, you can read her commentary on Princess and the Frog and Chris Rock’s Good Hair.

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‘Just Wright’ Trailer

Published by Clay Cane on Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 9:25 am.

just-wrightOscar nominee Queen Latifah returns to film in her first starring role since 2008’s The Secret Life of Bees.  She plays opposite Common in the romantic comedy, which also includes Paula Patton. Latifah is a physical therapist who is helping an injured basketball player (Common) and they happen to fall in love. Only complication is his former girlfriend (Patton), who left him after his injury makes a return.

Just Wright is in theaters Friday, May 14th Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad, Laz Alonso and True Blood’s Mehcad Brooks.

Check out the trailer below!

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Looking For A Valentine’s Day Movie?

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, February 8, 2010 at 12:46 am.

valentines-day-2010-9477295-450-681V-Day is this weekend and there is a movie that fits the bill — Gary Marshall’s Valentine’s Day. The cast is endless with names that include Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Julia Roberts, Taylor Lautner, Taylor Swift and George Lopez.

There are so many people packed into the movie it will be interesting to see how the flick works.  Check out the trailer below!

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Queen Latifah Talks ‘Precious’

Published by Clay Cane on Monday, November 30, 2009 at 12:00 am.

aqueenThe Lee Daniels film, Precious, is moving the world.  The movie has already grossed over 32 million at the box office and only had a production budget of 10 million. Performances from Mo’Nique and Gabourey Sidbe are considered award-worthy.

Oscar nominee, Queen Latifah, wrote about her Precious experience, mainly Paula Patton’s performance, to Variety.com.

From the minute she appears in the film you can’t help but feel blanketed in the warmth and kindness of her character. She feels the pain and past tragedies of her students but she doesn’t harp on the negative. She lifts them up and she carries them forward. She gives them hope and a sense of themselves and in the process she gives the audience a reason to keep going on Precious’ journey no matter what’s in store.

Great words from the Queen!  How was your Precious experience?

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