By: LATF Staff | June 9, 2016, 10:16 a.m.
Common, Alice Smith and Charlie Wilson have been added as special guests for The Academy Celebrates The Black Movie Soundtrack II at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday, August 31, at 8 PM.
Back by popular demand, Grammy-winning musician Marcus Miller and acclaimed producer/director Reginald Hudlin reprise the Hollywood Bowl’s 2014 celebration of classic music from black cinema. The 2016 edition will feature new clips and music, as well as some favorites from the original show.
The evening will once again be hosted by actor and comedian Craig Robinson.
Special guests, including the previously announced Philip Bailey, Verdine White, and Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind & Fire, as well as Full Force, will perform with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra led by Vince Mendoza. Additional special guests will be announced at a later date.
BY DEVAN COGGAN • @DEVANCOGGAN
(Bryan Bedder/Getty Images; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Posted June 9 2016 — 1:29 PM EDT
Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad are heading to court.
Open Road Films has picked up U.S. rights to Reginald Hudlin’s Marshall, starring Boseman as the lawyer and future Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall. Josh Gad also stars as Marshall’s law partner, a young, inexperienced Jewish lawyer named Samuel Friedman.
Open Road also revealed that Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Sterling K. Brown, and Keesha Sharp have officially joined the cast in unspecified roles. Principal photography began in late May in Buffalo, New York.
Trial lawyer Michael Koskoff penned the script for Marshall alongside his son, Macbeth screenwriter Jacob Koskoff. The screenplay follows Marshall as a young man working for the NAACP in pre-World War II America, and he’s soon sent to Connecticut, where he’s tasked with defending a black chauffeur accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to murder his wealthy employer. Facing a segregationist court and a tabloid frenzy surrounding the case, Marshall is forced to team up with the untested Friedman, who has never before tried a case.
Boseman recently made his debut as T’Challa/Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, and he’ll soon star in the upcoming standalone Black Panther movie. Gad lent his voice to the recent Angry Birds Movie, and he’ll next appear in the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie as Le Fou.
A release date for Marshall has yet to be announced.
by Dave McNary, June 9, 2016
Open Road Films has acquired all U.S. rights to “Marshall,” starring Chadwick Boseman as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Josh Gad as lawyer Sam Friedman.
Joining the previously announced cast are Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, James Cromwell, Sterling K. Brown and Keesha Sharp (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”).
Reginald Hudlin (producer of “Django Unchained”) is directing and Paula Wagner (“Mission: Impossible,” “The Last Samurai”) is producing through her Chestnut Ridge Productions banner along with Jonathan Sanger (“The Elephant Man”) and Hudlin.
Financiers are Star Light Media Inc., Hero Film Ltd. and Sky Legend along with Hunter Ryan and David Ryan. Executive producers are Peter Luo and Belton Lee.
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions has all international distribution rights for “Marshall,” which began principal photography in Buffalo, New York, on May 23. The production is utilizing New York State’s Film Production Program.
“Marshall” is based on the young Marshall defending a black chauffeur in 1941 against his wealthy socialite employer in a sexual assault and attempted murder trial that quickly became tabloid fodder. Marshall was partnered with Friedman, a young Jewish lawyer who had never tried a case.
The screenplay is a collaboration between renowned trial lawyer Michael Koskoff and his son, screenwriter Jacob Koskoff (“Macbeth”).
The film is being produced with the full support of the Marshall and Friedman estates, including their children, John W. Marshall and Lauren Friedman.
‘Marshall’ filmmakers heap praise on WNY
“Marshall” producers Jonathan Sanger, left, and Paula Wagner discuss the architecture of Buffalo with Mayor Byron W. Brown on Sunday. Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News
By Mark Sommer | News Staff Reporter, on May 22, 2016 – 8:36 PM, updated May 22, 2016 at 11:53 PM
Actors Kate Hudson, James Cromwell and Chadwick Boseman bring star power to the movie “Marshall” that begins filming Monday in Buffalo.
But Buffalo’s architecture plays a major supporting role, too.
“We scouted a lot of different cities, but Buffalo has preserved so much fantastic architecture from the turn of the last century,” director Reginald Hudlin said Sunday outside City Hall.
Hudlin joined the movie’s producers and a group of Chinese investors to receive a Buffalo welcome from Mayor Byron W. Brown and other political officials.
“There is literally no way we can have this kind of production value – I mean, you just look at City Hall here, and this incredible work,” Hudlin said as he pointed to carved details outside the art deco building. “And there are so many places like this. And not just the public buildings. Even when we go to private homes, there are so many people here who are really into preservation.”
On Sunday, the film’s producers announced Hudson, Cromwell, Sterling K. Brown and Dan Stevens have joined a cast that stars Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall and co-stars Josh Gad as lawyer Samuel Friedman.
The filming is expected to continue through early July in Buffalo and other areas in Erie County as well as Niagara Falls.
“We have found perfect locations for this movie, and the people here have been fantastic,” producer Paula Wagner said.
Courthouse scenes will be primarily shot at the former Dillon Courthouse in Niagara Square and on the steps of City Hall. Scenes will also be filmed this week inside the Niagara Falls Public Library’s LaSalle Branch, where the second floor has been painted to look like Marshall’s office.
The filmmakers chose Buffalo because of the locations, local acting and crew talent, tax credits and cooperation of the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, Hudlin said.
“We’re making a large financial investment, and once you make a decision like this there’s no turning back, so it’s a very carefully weighed decision,” Hudlin said. “We thought about it very seriously, and Buffalo was the place that checked all the boxes.”
Brown, who recalled watching Hudlin’s movie “House Party” in the early 1990s, was thrilled filmmakers picked Buffalo for the major motion picture about a civil rights champion.
“I want to thank the ‘Marshall’ cast and crew for choosing our community,” Brown said. “This could have been done in a lot of different places in the country. The fact that they chose Buffalo demonstrates Buffalo’s growing reputation as a great place to film a movie and to film for TV.
“Thurgood Marshall was one of the greatest legal minds in our nation’s history, and to have this movie filmed here in Buffalo is a tremendous honor,” Brown said.
President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 nominated Marshall to be the first African-American on the Supreme Court. The civil rights attorney had a 25-year association with the NAACP. He won 29 of his 32 cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case, in which the justices ruled “separate but equal” public education could never be truly equal.
“For me, there is a short list of people who kind of made America fulfill its promise, and Thurgood Marshall is one of those people,” Hudlin said. “It’s to the point where, when my son was born, Thurgood was on the short list of names. Ultimately, I couldn’t do that to him,” he said, laughing.
Hudlin directed the films “Boomerang” and “Serving Sara” and co-produced “Django Unchained” and this year’s Academy Awards ceremony. He said he jumped at the opportunity to direct the film.
“I loved the script because it wasn’t a typical bio-pic, but a legal thriller that focuses on one case early in his career,” Hudlin said. “I thought the case perfectly encapsulated so many of the complexities and challenges of his career. It also works as a great movie, where you don’t know the outcome.”
Hudlin said the film takes place in 1941 but has an important message for today.
“This movie is what we need as a culture right now,” Hudlin said. “At a time where we as a nation need to renew our commitment to the foundations of American democracy, which is fairness and justice, and judging people by their character, this movie renews all those things in a fresh way.
“We feel this movie will bring everyone together, and inspire us to be our best selves,” Hudlin said.
Wagner put together the producing team, financing and cast. The film producer, who was Tom Cruise’s longtime business partner, co-produced the “Mission Impossible” film trilogy and other blockbusters.
“I think we are making a film that not only is going to be entertaining, but it’s a film that has relevance to now,” Wagner said.
The film takes place in Bridgeport, Conn. A Greenwich socialite in 1940 accused her African-American chauffeur of rape and kidnapping. The NAACP enlists a Jewish lawyer, Samuel Friedman, to defend the chauffeur, with Marshall hired to assist Friedman during a period of considerable anti-Semitism and racism.
“We wouldn’t be here without Chadwick Boseman playing Thurgood Marshall,” Wagner said. “He is a phenomenal young actor, and when we met him, Reggie knew immediately, I knew immediately, we knew immediately that the soul, the essence of Thurgood is right there in Chadwick Boseman as an actor.”
Boseman’s film credits include portraying Jackie Robinson in “42’ and James Brown in “Get On Up.”
Brown said the “Marshal” production is expected to spend $4.5 million, hire more than 100 crew and extras and book 1,100 hotel room nights.
“Not only is it great to showcase our community in this way, and have this great film filmed here in Buffalo, but it also puts people in our community to work,” the mayor said.
Brown credited the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission, noting movie and television production generated $16 million in 2015 and is on pace to top $20 million this year.
Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development, praised the state’s film tax credit program for upstate New York.
“This has a snowball effect,” Hoyt said. “They’re going to have a great experience here, they’re going back to Hollywood and are going to say Buffalo is a great place to film movies, to do television production and we begin to get the reputation that we’re a great place to do business. We are going to see much, much more film production to come.”
Hudlin said there are several scenes that call for large casts of people, black and white.
“We will be challenging Buffalonians to the max to have them appear in the film,” Hudlin said. “We are going to be making stars out of some of the folks here in town, not just in background but with speaking lines as well.”
Hudlin said he’s become smitten by the region in his short time here.
“I can’t say how much we are enjoying being here in Buffalo,” Hudlin said. “It’s a beautiful city, it’s perfect for our production. But the most striking thing is the generosity of the citizens here. You guys have a wonderful secret here in Buffalo that we want to tell everybody about.”
By Susan Schulman | News Staff Reporter, on May 20, 2016 – 7:41 PM, updated May 20, 2016 at 8:39 PM
The steps outside Buffalo City Hall became a pre-movie set Friday afternoon, with Hollywood actors Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad starting work on the Thurgood Marshall movie being filmed in Buffalo.
While the actual shoot is scheduled to start Monday, still photos of the actors in full costume were taken by the movie crew.
Boseman plays attorney and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the movie, while Gad plays fellow attorney Sam Friedman.
The two were seen Friday talking with the movie’s director Reginald Hudlin.
The actors and crew weren’t talking with the media Friday, or posing for picture, hoping to keep things under wraps until a press conference either this weekend or Monday to officially announce filming details.
However, word leaked out that the cast and crew needed to get still photos Friday for a scene to be shot later.
The movie depicts the life of Marshall, American’s first African-American Supreme Court justice.
Much of the filming will be done in downtown buildings, including the Statler Hotel and the former Dillon federal courthouse.
Filming is expected to continue through at least the beginning of July.
By Thom Geier on May 17, 2016 @ 4:06 pm
Reginald Hudlin is directing the courtroom drama “Marshall,” which co-stars Josh Gad and Sterling K. Brown
Keesha Sharp is joining her “People v. OJ Simpson” co-star Sterling K. Brown, as well as Chadwick Boseman and Josh Gad, in “Marshall,” a biopic about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, TheWrap has exclusively learned.
Reginald Hudlin will direct from a script by attorney Michael Koskoff and his son Jacob Koskoff. Hero Films is financing the project, which Paula Wagner is producing under her Chestnut Ridge Productions banner.
Before he reprises his “Captain America: Civil War” role of Black Panther, Boseman will play another hero — young lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who’s tasked with defending an African American man (Brown) accused of the rape and attempted murder of a wealthy white woman in Connecticut.
Marshall’s career-defining case, which helped set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement, is set against a backdrop of Northern racism and anti-Semitism as the U.S. prepares to enter World War II.
Sharp will play Marshall’s wife, Buster.
The film, which boasts the support of Marshall’s family, will start production this month in Buffalo, New York.
Sharp recently parlayed her turn as Johnnie Cochran’s supportive wife in FX’s acclaimed miniseries “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” into a regular role as Damon Wayans’ wife on Fox’s new “Lethal Weapon” TV series. She’s represented by Abrams Artist Agency and Genesis Entertainment.
by Roger Friedman – May 13, 2016 9:14 pm
EXCLUSIVE That movie about a young Thurgood Marshall helping in the defense of a wrongly accused black man of rape in 1940? “Marshall” already features Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and James Cromwell.
But now I can tell you I’ve heard two more names added to director Reginald Hudlin’s cast: Kate Hudson and Dan Stevens, the former Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey fame.
I thought I’d have a personal inside route to this film because Gad is playing my own real life great uncle Samuel Friedman when he was in his late thirties. Alas, this film is like any other– getting casting scoops is actually harder than ever!
I’m excited that Hudson, who has an Oscar nomination from “Almost Famous” in 2000, finally has a substantial role. She’s an excellent actress. This could be a big deal for her. Stevens has also looked for a major part since leaving “Downton Abbey.”
Paula Wagner is producing, and I’m told a pair of brothers– Hunter Ryan and David Ryan– have joined the team as producers.
The story is true– a wealthy socialite named Eleanor Strubing (Hudson) accused her black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) of rape. Sam Friedman (Gad) took the case to defend Spell. The NAACP sent a young Thurgood Marshall (Boseman) to help with the case. Stevens will play the prosecutor.
You can read about the case here. Filming begins next month in Buffalo, New York.
by Erik Pedersen, May 4, 2016 5:53pm
EXCLUSIVE: The actor who played prosecutor Christopher Darden in FX’s The People v O.J. Simpson now is going to play a high-profile defendant. Sterling K. Brown has been cast in Marshall, director Reginald Hudlin’s biopic starring Chadwick Boseman as former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
Brown will play Joseph Spell, an itinerant worker newly relocated from Louisiana to Connecticut, where he is accused of the rape and attempted murder of a wealthy Greenwich socialite. The sensational 1941 trial brought a young Marshall, counsel for a struggling NAACP, to Bridgeport, CT, where he teamed with young Jewish lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) to defend Spell. The trial is set against a background of Northern racism and anti-Semitism.
Along with his starring role in The People v O.J. Simpson, Brown recently wrapped the M. Night Shyamalan thriller Split and co-stars in 36, Dan Fogelman’s off-cycle dramedy pilot for NBC that continues to be featured high on the list of series hopefuls. Repped by Innovative Artists and JWS Entertainment, he also is starring in Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3), which runs through May 15 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Marshall is being financed by Super Hero Films with Paula Wagner producing through her Chestnut Ridge Productions. Production kicks off this month in Buffalo, NY.
May 12, 2016, 11:05am EDT, James Fink, Reporter, Buffalo Business First
Actor Chadwick Boseman isn’t in town yet, but key pre-production crews for “Marshall” have arrived and are prepping for an extensive filming period in Buffalo and other locales.
Filming for “Marshall” is scheduled to begin in earnest around May 23, said Tim Clark, Buffalo Niagara Film Commission executive director, with many of the scenes centered in and around the now-vacant Michael Dillon Courthouse in downtown Buffalo.
The vacant Michael J. Dillon Federal Courthouse will have a role in a film about Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court justice.
Officials peg the economic impact from the movie about Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall to be “north of $5 million.”
“The economic impact will be better than the ‘Turtles,’” Clark said.
Last year, portions of the Kensington Expressway were used as the backdrop for a chase scene the upcoming “Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles” film — due to be released next month. That three-week production left behind a $3 million local economic impact.
Many of the more than 400 crew and extras will be from the immediate Buffalo Niagara region.
“Marshall” tells the early legal career days of Marshall. The movie focuses on Marshall’s career as a young attorney before he was named to the Supreme Court in 1967.
The script centers on Marshall defending a black chauffeur who was accused of sexually assaulting his wealthy socialite employer. The case generated tabloid fodder.
Buffalo was selected, thanks tax credits offered by New York state, an aggressive pitch made by Clark and some additional lobbying from Sen. Charles Schumer. The region’s deep supply of early 20th century architecture was another key factor.
Boseman, whose acting credits include “Draft Day,” “Get on Up,” and “42” stars in the movie. Noted Hollywood director Reginald Hudin, whose resume includes “Django Unchained” and “Boomerang”, is already in Buffalo working with pre-production crews.
Besides the Dillon Courthouse, scenes are expected to be shot elsewhere in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Batavia.
And, because the movie is set in the 1930s, expect to see a lot of period cars, actors in clothes from that era and, even, street lights and highway signs that reflect that decade.
“It is going to be quite the spectacle,” Clark said. “Everything, even the most minute details, will be true to form.”
Clark said there may be some minor street closures during certain filming periods but the crews are
“Everyone wants it to be as least disruptive as possible,” Clark said.
Clark said he hopes to use “Marshall” as a marketing tool to lure other major movie productions to the region.
“We are building up a resume,” Clark said.
By MICHAEL CIEPLY and BROOKS BARNES MAY 9, 2016
Madina Nalwanga, left, and Lupita Nyong’o star in “The Queen of Katwe,” a film from Walt Disney Studios directed by Mira Nair. Photo Credit Edward Echwalu/Disney Enterprises Inc.
LOS ANGELES — Just last week, Margot Lee Shetterly finished the manuscript for “Hidden Figures,” her nonfiction book about black women who worked as mathematicians for the United States rocket program during the Cold War era.
The film adaptation? It started shooting over a month ago in Atlanta, with Taraji P. Henson in a lead role. Chernin Entertainment, the company behind the movie, is already anticipating a year-end release to qualify for Oscar consideration.
Without a doubt, a castigated Hollywood is in a hurry to find what was largely missing during its last two awards seasons: diverse prize contenders.
More than a dozen pictures with black issues, actors and, often, filmmakers are poised to surface once the summertime superheroes have their moment, with many of these diversity-minded films pointed toward the Academy Awards. Several movies — including Paramount’s “Fences” and Disney’s “The Queen of Katwe” — are being assembled by major studios. Others, like the slave revolt drama “The Birth of a Nation” and “Southside With You,” about a young Barack and Michelle Obama, were snapped up at the last Sundance Film Festival.
Yet another batch is coming together from independent or nontraditional players. “Underground,” a Netflix-financed fraternity hazing drama, will be the directing debut of Gerard McMurray, a producer of “Fruitvale Station.” In “A United Kingdom,” directed by Amma Asante, David Oyelowo will play a prince from Botswana. And Barkhad Abdi, an Oscar nominee for “Captain Phillips,” has been shooting another Somali pirate story, “Where the White Man Runs Away.”
The push comes in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite outcry that humiliated the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after its acting branch put forward an all-white field of nominees for the second consecutive year, and of subsequent casting controversies. It is a chance for Hollywood to show a strong slate of movies made by black filmmakers, as it did in 2013, with the release of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”; the Gugu-Mbatha Raw vehicle “Belle”; and “12 Years a Slave,” which won the best picture Oscar.
Photo Credit Elliot Davis
Fox Searchlight, which powered “12 Years a Slave” to that victory, bought “The Birth of a Nation” at Sundance in a six-studio bidding war. Fox Searchlight’s strong track record at the Academy Awards, as well as a sense that there could be a correction of sorts following the last two awards cycles, has already prompted prognosticators to pronounce “The Birth of a Nation,” directed by and starring Nate Parker, as this year’s film to beat.
While early front-runners often falter — “The Revenant” was once the leader for this year’s Oscars, but “Spotlight” ultimately won best picture — Mr. Parker’s film is expected to capture attention with a bold marketing campaign that may well stretch beyond the confines of Hollywood, to trade on the energy, and potentially the outrage, brought on by an already unpredictable presidential election. Fox Searchlight has scheduled an Oct. 7 release date.
Other black-themed films are likely to be vying for awards votes, too. On Nov. 4, Focus Features, an art house rival to Fox Searchlight, will release the period drama “Loving,” about the interracial couple (played by Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton) whose arrest for marrying in 1958 and subsequent legal battle led to the end of America’s anti-miscegenation laws. Directed by Jeff Nichols, “Loving” will play in competition at this month’s Cannes Film Festival.
Paramount, which pushed Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” released in 2014, for the Oscars, has high hopes for “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play about the black experience in the 1950s. Denzel Washington, a two-time Oscar winner for his roles in “Training Day” and “Glory,” is directing “Fences” and playing a lead role. Mr. Washington won a Tony in 2010 for his performance in a Broadway revival of the play.
“It’s his passion project,” said Aaron L. Gilbert, managing director of the Bron group of companies, which is backing the film, and who is an executive producer on a team that includes the producer Scott Rudin. (Mr. Rudin, of course, is an Oscar perennial, whose “No Country for Old Men” won best picture in 2008.)
If “Fences,” currently shooting in Pittsburgh, is indeed finished in time for awards consideration, Mr. Gilbert may end up competing against himself. He also served as a backer of “The Birth of a Nation.”
Walt Disney Studios — which recently drew criticism for casting Tilda Swinton as a hitherto Tibetan character in “Doctor Strange,” from its Marvel unit — may well join this year’s awards conversation with “Queen of Katwe.” Directed by Mira Nair, an Indian, “Queen of Katwe” is based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess champion. It features Lupita Nyong’o, an Oscar winner for “12 Years a Slave,” and David Oyelowo, who played the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma” but was overlooked by the academy, in prominent roles.
Disney plans a Sept. 23 release.
In late August, Miramax will join Roadside Attractions to release the love story “Southside With You,” which recounts the Obamas’ first date. Around that time, A24, represented at this year’s Oscars by “Room” and the documentary “Amy,” is likely to roll out the hip-hop-infused “Morris From America,” a coming-of-age comedic drama starring Craig Robinson and Markees Christmas.
A24 is also looking at an awards season release for “Moonlight,” a 1980s-era drama based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” The movie, directed and written by Barry Jenkins, has production support from Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, known for “12 Years a Slave” and “The Big Short,” which scored five Oscar nominations and won one, for adapted screenplay.
The list goes on: Will Smith, snubbed by the academy this year for “Concussion,” though twice nominated in the past, will star as a depressed advertising executive in the drama “Collateral Beauty,” to be released in December. It is directed by David Frankel, a past Oscar winner for the 1996 short film “Dear Diary,” and also stars Kate Winslet, who has been nominated for seven Oscars, and won one for “The Reader.”
Black youth, and young black directors, may have their moment in Steven Caple Jr.’s “The Land,” a drama acquired by IFC about four impoverished friends in Cleveland, and in Mr. McMurray’s “Underground,” which counts the producer Reginald Hudlin (“Django Unchained”) as a member of its creative team.
Mr. Hudlin is just now resuming his work as the director of “Marshall,” an independent film in which Chadwick Boseman plays a young Thurgood Marshall in a quest for racial justice that predated Marshall’s years on the Supreme Court.
“We’d love to get it out this year, but it has to be right,” said Paula Wagner, a producer of the film. Mr. Hudlin, Ms. Wagner noted, had interrupted work on the film to help produce this year’s Oscar ceremony.
If “Marshall” indeed makes it to the screen soon, with its story of a black lawyer in a United States just emerging from its Jim Crow era, it will share the stage with “Hidden Figures,” a tale of black women using math to rise in the same, often difficult milieu. Theodore Melfi (“St. Vincent”) directed the adaptation of Ms. Shetterly’s book.
“It’s been such a whirlwind,” said Ms. Shetterly, who described her forthcoming book’s part in the sudden eruption of the kind of films that only months ago were said to be on Hollywood’s endangered list.
“It’s an African-American story,” she said. “It’s a woman’s story. Now it’s part of the national narrative.”