BGN News Beat

What’s going on in the TV world?

Mitch Haaseth/ABC

Entertainment Weekly gave us our first look at Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope and Viola Davis’ Annalise Keating in their Shondaland crossover. The event will happen on March 1. Annalise will appear on Scandal and Olivia on How to Get Away With Murder. Details on the plot of the episode are scarce but EW speculates it might have something to do with Annalise’s class action lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania. Davis told EW, “It was black girl magic on steroids! Me and Kerry dancing to ‘Rock the Boat’? Hey, it can’t get any better.” Washington added, “I really love Viola. I have such immense respect and admiration for her.”

Carin Baer/The CW

EW also gave us a photo of Jill Scott in Black Lightning. She will play Lady Eve. In Freeland, she presents herself as the owner of a funeral parlor but she’s so much more than that. She also serves as the bridge between a secret group of corrupt leaders and Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III), the leader of the One Hundred Gang. She quickly becomes an adversary to Black Lightning once he starts threatening those enterprises.

Netflix has released the official trailer for their new drama Seven Seconds. From Veema Sad, the creator of The Killing, the show is described as: “in an instant, life is forever changed for Brenton Butler and his family. After a white cop accidentally hits and critically injures a black teenager, a northeastern city explodes with racial tensions, an attempted cover-up and its aftermath, and the trial of the century.” The series stars Regina King, Clare-Hope Ashitey, Russell Hornsby, David Lyons, Raul Castillo, Michael Mosely and Beau Knapp.

What We Do in the Shadows may be coming soon to FX. A pilot based on the 2014 mockumentary about vampires in New Zealand was ordered. Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) wrote, directed and starred in the feature film and will both be returning for the series. The half-hour comedy will be written by Clement and directed by Waititi. They will also serve as executive producers. Waititi, Clement, Jonathan Brugh and Ben Fransham played vampire roommates who killed at night and were forced to live together during the day in the film. The series will star Kayvan Novak (Danger Mouse, Thunderbirds Are Go), Matt Berry (Toast of London), Natasia Demetriou (Year Friends) and Harvey Guillen (The Thundermans, The Internship). Waititi said previously that the series would be set in America, not New Zealand.

A pilot of the reboot of Get Christie Love has been ordered by ABC. Pitch‘s Kylie Bunbury stars as Christie Love. The show is described as a “music-driven one-hour drama that centers on Christie Love, an African American female CIA agent who leads an elite ops unit. She transforms into whomever she needs to be to get the job done, especially when it’s down to the wire and the stakes are life and death.” Power creator and showrunner Courtney A. Kemp will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Vin Diesel is also an executive producer on the show. Get Christie Love! is filled with Black Girl Magic. It was the first hour-long network drama with a Black actress as a lead. The reboot was picked up by ABC, which is run by the first Black female broadcast network president, Channing Dungey. The show comes from Uni TV, the first major US TV studio headed by a Black female president, Pearlena Igbokwe.

Reboots are definitely in season right now:

  • ABC Signature Studios is in the process of developing a series based on the 1992 comedy The Mighty Ducks. The original film starred Emilio Estevez as a young lawyer forced to coach a youth hockey team for community service. Joshua Jackson (Fringe, Dawson’s Creek) also starred in the film. As of now a network isn’t attached though it could land at Freeform or the Disney Channel.
  • The CW has ordered a pilot of the new Charmed reboot. The 1998 series followed of a trio of sister who were also powerful witches. According to The CW, the description of the reboot is: “This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.” The reboot will be set in the present day.
  • CBS has issued a 13 episode order for a revival of the 1988 sitcom Murphy Brown. Diane English, the creator of the series and its star Candice Bergen are both set to return. Murphy Brown aired on CBS for 10 seasons from 1988-98.
  • CBS has also ordered pilots for Cagney and Lacey and Magnum P.I. reboots.

(Who’s exhausted?)

Girls Trip breakout star Tiffany Haddish has signed a first look deal with HBO. The two-year deal is with Haddish and her She Ready production company. Haddish has had a breakout year since her turn in Girls Trip. She won a New York Film Critics Circle award for best-supporting actress for her role in that film. Haddish is starring opposite Tracy Morgan in TBS’s The Last OG. She is also starring opposite Kevin Hart in Night School, which is set to debut in September. Haddish stays busy with additional upcoming projects in New Line’s The Kitchen, Universal’s The Temp and Paramount’s Limited Partners.

The Grey’s Anatomy spinoff finally has a title — Station 19. The series is set at Seattle Fire Station 19. Grey’s Anatomy‘s Dr. Ben Warren (Jason George) changes careers from a surgeon to a firefighter. His new fire station is close enough to Grey Sloan Memorial that characters crossing over is a possibility. Station 19 also stars Jaina Lee Ortiz, Grey Damon, Barrett Doss, Alberto Frezza, Jay Hayden, Okieriete Onaodowan, Danielle Savre and Miguel Sandoval. Stacy McKee will serve as showrunner. It premieres with a special two-hour event on ABC March 22. It will later take the 9 pm spot during “TGIT” on March 29.

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In Movie News…

A new trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising dropped this week. We get to see more of what Jake Pentecost’s life is like, which is apparently partying and being in jail. That is until Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) calls him to the Jaeger program. Jake, of course, is the son of Stacker Pentecost who helped end the original kaiju invasion. As we see from the trailer, the kaiju are back and this time it seems they have human help. Pacific Rim Uprising opens on March 23.

Photographs of Brie Larson on the set of Captain Marvel surfaced this week. She’s not wearing Captain Marvel’s usual red, blue and gold outfit. Instead, she’s in something more reminiscent of the Kree who will play a big role in the film. Set in the 1990s, Larson plays  Carol Danvers, an Air Force pilot who gains superpowers after her DNA is fused with that of an alien following an accident. The film is expected to open March 8, 2019.

Also in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, early tracking is estimating that Black Panther will open between $100 million and $120 million. The embargo has lifted and BGN has been steadily releasing exclusive Black Panther content. Check out this article on our visit to the set and this introduction to the Dora Milaje.

The Academy Awards nominations were announced this week. There were a few surprises, ‘snubs’ and firsts. It says a lot that there are still so many firsts to be achieved in something that has a 90-year history. Jordan Peele became the first Black person and only third person ever to be nominated for Writing, Directing and Producing for Get Out. He’s the fifth Black director to be nominated and could possibly be the first one to win. Dee Rees is the first Black woman to be nominated for adapted screenplay for Mudbound. Rachel Morrison, Mudbound’s director of photography, became the first woman to be nominated for Best Cinematography. She also is responsible for shooting Black Panther. Mary J. Blige was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for Mudbound. The first person ever to get a performance nomination and an original song nomination at the same time. Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig is the fifth woman nominated for Best Director breaking an 8 year all male streak. Yance Ford became the first trans director to be nominated for an Oscar. His film, Strong Island, which was released on Netflix, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Octavia Spencer was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Shape of Water, tying her with Viola Davis for the most nominations a Black woman has received.

Yara Shahidi, star of black-ish and Grown-ish, is making her directorial debut. She directed a short film for Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology, a series of shorts directed by women. She wrote the script with Jordan Reddout, a writer on grown-ish. The film has many inspirations including the 1965 French film The Red Balloon, her own experience walking around Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue and the podcast 99% Invisible. “The story centers around one character who we have aptly titled ‘X,’ and it’s X’s journey through L.A. — a day in the life — but also a larger commentary on what it’s like to maneuver through a space that you don’t own or have ownership of,” Shahidi told the LA Times. The short film was a family affair with her mother serving as executive producer and her father as director of photography. The crew also included members of the Grown-ish and black-ish sets.

Fellow black-ish star, Marsai Martin, is also branching out into feature films. She will star in Universal’s Little, a comedy about a woman who chooses to relive life as her carefree younger self (played by Martin) after adulthood becomes too much to deal with. Not only will 13-year-old Martin star in the film, she also developed the story and will serve as an executive producer on it. The most recent draft of the script has been written by Drumline scribe Tina Gordon. Girls Trip producers Will Packer and James Lopez will produce along with black-ish creator Kenya Barris. Regina Hall, star of Girls Trip, will serve as an executive producer.

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Viktorija Pashuta Photography/IMDB

Tony-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr and Slumdog Millionaire‘s Freida Pinto will star in Only. Written and directed by Takashi Doscher, the film is set in a world where a mysterious illness threatens to kill every woman on the planet. Pinto plays Eva, possibly the only woman left alive with Odom Jr as Will, her boyfriend. The couple has to survive this new, dangerous environment filled with people who want to hunt Eva down. The Walking Dead‘s Chandler Riggs will also star.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival has one of the most diverse lineups we’ve seen in years. The rights to the critically acclaimed film, Blindspotting, were purchased by Lionsgate. The film stars Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs as a man riding out the end of his parole. He works with his friend (Rafael Casal) to move boxes out of houses. The film follows their experiences dealing with race and violence in Oakland, California. The script was co-written by Diggs and Casal and directed by first-time feature director Carlos Lopez Estrada. “We took the approach on this film that convention would not hinder the telling of an authentic Oakland story, and we know from experience that our new partners are not afraid to push boundaries and try something new. We could not be more excited,” said López Estrada, Diggs, and Casal in a statement. Check out the rest of our Sundance coverage here.

THR

Also coming out of Sundance, the rights to Sorry to Bother You were bought by Annapurna Pictures. The film also takes place in Oakland, this time in an alternate version of it. It follows Lakeith Stanfield who plays a telemarketer who discovers a magical key to that allows him to quickly climb the professional ladder drawing him into the macabre world of his coke addict boss played by Armie Hammer. Tessa Thompson plays his brilliant and concerned girlfriend. Steven Yeun, Terry Crews, Jermaine Fowler and Omari Hardwick also star in the film. Based on a script he wrote, this was Boots Riley’s directorial debut. “We fucking love this movie,” said Annapurna in a statement. Check out our review of it here.

A White Lie, the film produced by and starring Zendaya, has just been picked up Sony’s TriStar Pictures. The film is based on The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe. It’s the true story of Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned Black woman who passed as white to attend Vassar in the 1890s. There she is treated as a wealthy, educated white woman who finds love with a rich Harvard student. Reese Witherspoon will also produce through her Hello Sunshine production company along with Lauren Levy Neustadter. “Zendaya, Lauren, and Reese have developed a bold and original approach to Anita’s story that explores complex and timely themes in a way that is sure to thrill audiences,” said Hannah Minghella, president of TriStar Pictures.

The Super Fly remake has recently finished rounding out their cast. Now Sony has announced a release date of June 15, 2018. That leaves 4 months to shoot the film. A little too quick? Maybe. Sony has also had a few other shakeups. They moved Anne Hathaway’s Barbie from August to May 2020. They also pushed Slender Man, from black direct Sylvain White, from May 2018 to August 24, 2018. Super Fly stars Grown-ish‘s Trevor Jackson as Youngblood Priest and Straight Outta Compton‘s Jason Mitchell as Eddie.

Netflix is currently in negotiations to buy the global rights to the next Cloverfield movie from Paramount according to Tracking Board. This isn’t the first property Netflix has approached Paramount for. They recently acquired the rights for Annihilation. The Cloverfield movie was previously called The God Particle and is rumored to be called Cloverfield Station now. Directed by Julius Onah, it stars David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O’Dowd, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki and Zhang Ziyi. The previous release date was April 20. Whether or not it remains that is unknown.

Finally, Rafe Judkins, writer, and producer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is currently rewriting the script for the Uncharted movie. The project has been in development for almost a decade but seems to finally be moving forward. Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) is set to play a young Nathan Drake. “We’ve come up with a wonderful origin story but it’s still based on the Uncharted video game. It doesn’t take place during any of the time periods of any of the Uncharted video games. It actually takes place when Nathan Drake and Sully, I guess you’d call him his surrogate father, were much younger. It’s an origin story that evolves out of the game but is not from the game. Shawn Levy is going to be directing it and a young writer Rafe Judkins is currently writing the screenplay,” said producer Charles Roven. He was also a producer on every DC Comics movie since Batman Begins.

If you have anything I missed, email me at mel@blackgirlnerds.com or tweet me at @jane_anon. Check back in next Monday for all the exciting news happening next week.