*Warner Bros, Apple, MGM, Lionsgate and Universal are among the studios in a bidding war at the virtual Cannes Film Festival over the world rights to the film “Emancipation.”
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film stars Will Smith as a real-life historical figure named Peter, who was a “runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North where he joined the Union Army,” per Deadline.
Here’s more from the outlet about what’s going down at Cannes:
I hear Apple has the edge, but the auction isn’t over. On Wednesday, Deadline reported that the bidding was above $75 million with Warner Bros, Apple, scrapping with five other companies in the mix, but now it’s down to two and I expect a resolution before the weekend.
The story of Peter was also fueled by an indelible image, after he showed his bare back during an Army medical examination. The photos taken of the scars from a whipping delivered by an overseer on the plantation got published and seen around the world in 1863.
The picture gave the abolitionist cause indisputable proof of the cruelty of slavery in America, and when the photo reached around the world, legend has it that it made countries like France refuse to buy cotton from the South. The photo, commonly called The Scourged Back, solidified the cause of abolitionists and the rest of the world against slavery and prompted many free blacks to join the Union Army.
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— Joey McFarland (@JoeyMcFarland) June 16, 2020
Fuqua noted that the photograph was “the first viral image of the brutality of slavery that the world saw,” which is interesting, when you put it into perspective with today and social media and what the world is seeing, again. You can’t fix the past, but you can remind people of the past and I think we have to, in an accurate, real way. We all have to look for a brighter future for us all, for everyone. That’s one of the most important reasons to do things right now, is show our history. We have to face our truth before we can move forward.”
The film will channel that historical background to take viewers on thrill ride with Peter as he escapes his captors.
“It hit my heart and my soul in so many ways that are impossible to convey but I think you understand,” Fuqua told Deadline. “We’re watching some of the feeling that I had, in the streets right now. There’s sadness, there’s anger, there’s love, faith and hope as well because of what I see young people doing today. They’re doing all the heavy lifting now. Black, white, brown, yellow, you name it. They’re out in the street, they’re young, and they’re standing up for their future,” he said.
Adding “That’s important to see, and the most hopeful thing that I’m seeing, that they’re not going to stand for it anymore. I had all those feelings with I read the script. As a filmmaker, everything I’ve done up to this point in my life, and not just filmmaking but living as a black man in this country, having my own issues, and then having children and a family and being married. It hit home, because this is at heart a film about family, about love,” Fuqua explained.
“Faith, the idea that Peter never gave up and he fought tooth and nail to get back to his family. That is an important story to tell. The slavery and the brutality, most people are familiar with it. People who care to know about it are familiar with it. I found it brutal and I found it entertaining in a way because of the journey it took me on, Peter’s journey. What’s amazing about it is, this is based on fact and deep research.”
Abby Phillip of CNN: A Next-Gen Star is Born
*In this age of fast-talking and often overbearing television news correspondents, many have been in the business far longer than CNN’s Abby Phillip. Yet Philip, 31, is a breath of fresh air.
During the recent presidential election night coverage, and the days that followed, more people turned to CNN than any other news outlet, to get their information about the historic election.
What viewers witnessed was a strong team of correspondents, with Phillip at center stage. She has been touted for presenting journalistic brilliance, rooted in deep perspectives and wisdom of the political landscape. Phillip was superbly praised, especially when she talked about the role Black women played in the presidential election.
“For Black women, this has been really a proving moment for their political strength, in carrying Joe Biden to the Democratic nomination through the primary,” Phillip told the NY Times.
And even before Biden’s win, Phillip predicted the former vice president would become president-elect.
“Not only would Black Women put Joe Biden in the White House,” Phillip said on the air. “but they would also put a Black woman in the White House as well. And while Donald Trump’s political career began with the racist birther lie, it may very well end with a Black woman in the White House.”
While what Phillip said on the air is profound, it’s just as important how she said it. Phillip is methodic in her vocal delivery, with a cadence and inflection in her voice that draw viewers to her solemn and insightful take on an array of political topics.
Born in Virginia and raised in Bowie, Maryland to parents from Trinidad and Tobago, Phillip ultimately graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor’s degree in government. After working at ABC News and the Washington Post, CNN hired Phillip in 2017 as a political news analyst.
While she has been a valued news analyst and contributor on many segments at CNN since joining the popular cable outlet, her star began to rise exponentially after she was chosen to help anchor the coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention. The ultimate shine on the star came when CNN’s executive producers tapped her to be a major political contributor on election night, which has been called the most important election in American history.
“I was excited, but I was stressed,” Phillip said. “I knew it was a big deal.”
Faizon Love Hits Universal with Discrimination Lawsuit Over ‘Couples Retreat’ Poster [VIDEO]
*Faizon Love has filed a race discrimination lawsuit against Universal Studios for removing him from the international poster for the 2009 comedy “Couples Retreat.”
“This film was a big money-maker for Universal, but instead of honoring my work and my contract, the studio chose to render me invisible to billions of moviegoers,” Love said in a statement, Variety reports.
Love claims he only recently realized that he and co-star Kali Hawk are not on the international poster, and their names aren’t even mentioned.
“Rather than enjoy maximum visibility with the film’s release, Mr. Love was demoted to the proverbial ‘Invisible Man,’” the lawsuit said, referring to Ralph Ellison’s civil rights novel.
“Although Couples Retreat achieved a first-place box office opening weekend ranking, and went on a spectacular run that grossed more than $171 million worldwide, Universal Studios placed Mr. Love in the back seat of the ride enjoyed by his six White costars,” it said.
Universal allegedly apologized when first called out over the edited poster, and Love says he was promised future “lucrative, career-making film roles”… but that never hapened.
The lawsuit claims the movie’s lead actor Vince Vaughn “went so far as to tell Mr. Love that making a big deal about his removal from the poster would not be good for his career.”
Love is taking legal action of behalf of all Black artists who have been mistreated in the industry.
“They have not only hurt me financially, they have hurt me in a deeper way by dismissing me because of my Blackness — and they have hurt all Black performers by continuing to perpetuate racism in the movie industry,” Love said. “I want to ensure that future generations don’t have to endure the racism and whitewashing that I have experienced.”
The suit accuses Universal of fraud, breach of contract, and violating California’s fair employment act and civil rights law.
Scroll up and hear Faizon talk about the lawsuit via the YouTube clip above.
‘Bachelorette’ Star Tayshia Adams Gets Emotional During Rare Conversation About Race [VIDEO]
*“Bachelorette”Star Tayshia Adams opened up about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement during a rare conversation about race on the hit dating series.
Adams confessed to biracial contestant Ivan Hall on Tuesday’s episode that the death of George Floyd changed her perspective as a Black/Latina woman. She became emotional during their date while explaining her experience as a woman of color in America.
“Being in Orange County and surrounded by a lot of people that don’t look like me — being the only person that looks like me — I’m realizing that I’ve been trying so hard my whole life to blend in because I knew I was different,” said Adams of her California upbringing. “I didn’t really want to cry about it or open up about it, but hearing people yell ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it hit me more than I realize just because those are people in my backyard that I’ve been trying to prove for so long that I’m the same as them.”
— Tayshia Adams (@tayshia) November 24, 2020
Hall also shared his own experience as man of color, and recalled how his younger brother was mistreated in prison by correctional officers.
Adamsl told the camera, “He understands me more than anybody else can. That’s obviously what I’ve been looking for.”
The casting of Adams and the discussion about race comes months after Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black lead, called out the “Bachelor” franchise for “systemic racism.”
In response, producers diversified the popular series both in front of and behind the camera.
“We made a concerted effort, before the pandemic, to make better strides for diversity and let people see themselves and their love represented on the show,” host and producer Chris Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think the best thing we ever did was realizing and admitting there was an issue, and then saying, ‘Let’s get to work and let’s do better.'”
Speaking to the publication earlier in the season about starring on the show, Adams said: “Not only am I African American, but I am Mexican, and I’m going to have an opportunity to have a platform to relate to so many women who look like me, who haven’t had the opportunity to relate to someone in the past. How can you not want to take that opportunity and be an amazing role model for people? That was something that I took on and was really excited to be able to do.”
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