Black Celebrity News roundup

His Royal Awesomeness Laurence Fishburne CONFIRMED to star in NBC's upcoming contemporary take on Hannibal. (this is not deja vu)

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Laurence Fishburne is no longer "circling," and is now confirmed to play the pivotal role of Jack Crawford, the agent-in-charge at the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, who is tasked with tracking down a certain flesh-eating serial killer - a role played by Dennis Farina in Manhunter, Scott Glenn in The Silence of the Lambs and Harvey Keitel in Red Dragon.
Fishburned will play Jack Crawford on the small screen hoever, officially joining the cast of NBC's upcoming contemporary take on Hannibal, with characters from Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon novel.

Fishburne's Crawford is described as a "tough cop who seems to have been born to hunt serial killers and lacking the type of empathy that informs the lives of both Will and Hannibal and knows he needs Will to be his bird-dog. His greatest mission is to stop sociopaths before they kill more -- even if that means sacrificing Will's psyche in the process."

Sounds like a juicy role for Mr Fishburne, on his return to TV after exiting CSI last year.

The project, written and exec-produced by Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller and slated to debut midseason, centers on the relationship between FBI agent Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).


Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Joins George Tillman Jr.'s 'The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete'

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Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has joined Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Mackie, Jordin Sparks, and Jeffrey Wright, in George Tillman Jr.'s The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete.

Tillman's State Street Pictures is teaming up with iDeal Partners for the drama, which stars Jennifer Hudson as a drug addict mother whose arrest forces her son and his best friend to fend for themselves.

The script was penned by Michael Starrbury, whose credits include the 2011 TV film Black Jack starring Ving Rhames, as well as a few shorts.

It's not yet known what roles the other actors will play in the film. But we'll know soon enough. The film is being co-produced by Alicia Keys who co-starred with Hudson in The Secret Life of Bees.

Production began earlier this week in Brooklyn.

George Tillman Jr.'s director credits include 1997's Soul Food, 2000's Men of Honor with Robert Deniro and Cuba Gooding Jr., 2009's Notorious and 2010's Faster starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.


Michael Ealy and Regina Hall In Talks To Join Kevin Hart In Remake Of 'About Last Night'

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What we already know: Screen Gems is remaking the 1986 rom-com, About Last Night, and Kevin Hart is the first actor to be cast in the project that centers on a man and woman who try to have a romantic affair, but are hindered by their own personal problems, as well as the interference of their disapproving friends.

What's the latest? Hart's Think Like A Man co-stars Michael Ealy and Regina Hall are in early talks to join him in the remake, says Variety.

The original film's synopsis:

Danny and Bernie are two single men living their lives on the wild side. But when Danny meets Debbie at a bar and the two start a relationship with a one night stand, Danny's life takes a different turn. How does this passionate night become a full affair and what effect will this relationship have on both people and their friendship with their best mates?

Edward Zwick directed the original that starred Rob Lowe and Demi Moore as the couple who meet (Danny and Debbie), and James Belushi played Danny's best friend, Bernie. Hart has signed on to play the Belushi role; while Ealy is said to be in talks to play the lead, originated by Rob Lowe. Hall will play the female lead's best friend who has a love/hate relationship with Hart's character. 

The female lead is yet to be cast. Although since it appears to be a Think Like A Man reunion we could say (Will Packer is producing this as well), Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson and Meagan Good seemingly are options.

The original film was based on the 1974 David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. No director has been attached yet (Tim Story maybe), although Leslye Headland is penning the script. She's a relative newbie who worked on a TV show called Terriers in 2010.


Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash Making Big Screen Producer Debut with feature film adaptation of the classic Raggedy Ann and Andy.

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It should no longer be a surprise to you all that the puppeteer behind the popular puppet Elmo is a black man name Kevin Clash.
He was the focus of a documentary we talked about quite a bit on this site last year, titled Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey.

But it may be a surprise to most that Mr Clash is also a director and producer, with a number of TV movie credits on his resume - mostly within the Sesame Street universe he works in primarily. And Kevin will be making his big screen debut as a producer on a feature film adaptation of the classic Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.

That's right, the dolls are heading to the bigscreen to star in their own musical comedy in a producing partnership between Mr Kevin Clash and The Gotham Group. Variety notes that the project will take place in a contemporary, live-action setting, combining puppetry and CG to bring the characters to life, with celebrity cameos, although no word on who those celebs will be yet.

So what's the story going to be?

Based on the classic storybook "Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel With Wrinkled Knees," [the story] centers on the dolls being lost in a modern-day city and possibly having to save a stolen friend from the clutches of a scheming enemy.

Raggedy Ann was created in 1915 as a doll, and was later introduced in the 1918 book Raggedy Ann Stories.

The dolls were first feartured on the bigscreen in 1941's animated 17-minute film Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. It'll be wise to keep a closer eye on Mr Clash from here on, as he makes the leap to big screen feature film production, if only to see where it all leads.