‘Lincoln’: Russell Hornsby to Star in NBC’s Drama Pilot Based on ‘The Bone Collector’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Russell Hornsby has been cast as the star for NBC’s drama pilot “Lincoln,” an adaption of the “Bone Collector” book series that was adapted into a 1999 film of the same name.

Hornsby will play the title character, Lincoln Rhyme, who was played by Denzel Washington in the film. He currently appears on Fox’s rookie legal drama “Proven Innocent.”

Based on the bestselling book series, “Lincoln” follows legendary forensic criminologist Lincoln Rhyme, who was seriously injured during his hunt for the diabolic serial killer known as the Bone Collector. Called back into action when the killer re-emerges, Lincoln forms a unique partnership with Amelia Sachs, a young beat cop who helps him hunt the deadly mastermind while also taking on the most high-profile cases in the NYPD.

Also Read: TV Pilot Season 2019: TheWrap’s Complete Guide

The project is from Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television in association with Keshet Studios. VJ Boyd and Mark Bianculli will write and executive produce with Keshet’s Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.

The film, which grossed $151 million at the box office globally, was distributed jointly by Universal Pictures (U.S. and Canada) and Columbia Pictures (internationally). Along with Washington, it starred Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker, Michael McGlone and Luis Guzman.

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Michael B. Jordan is in talks to star in Journal for Jordan, Sony Pictures’ adaptation of Pulitzer-winning journalist Dana Cadendy’s bestselling memoir that will be directed by Denzel Washington. Oscar-nominated Mudbound scribe Virgil Willi…

‘Black Panther’ Stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan on ‘Broadening People’s Bandwidth’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This article about “Black Panther” first appeared in the issue of TheWrap Magazine’s Oscar Nominations Preview issue.

Chadwick Boseman was just as surprised as anyone when the smash commercial and critical success of “Black Panther” turned into serious Oscar buzz months after its release. “You don’t make a movie that comes out in February,” he said, “and automatically think about awards.”

No, you don’t. Since “The Silence of the Lambs” won the Best Picture Oscar after being released on Valentine’s Day 1991, only one other February release has even been nominated for the top award: “Get Out,” which turned the trick last year. And no comic-book movie or Marvel movie has done it in that time, either. But “Black Panther,” directed by Ryan Coogler, in short order became a critical favorite, a smash hit, a cultural landmark and, yes, a genuine awards contender.

Although the film is filled with strong female characters, at heart it is a showdown between Boseman as T’Challa, the leader of the secluded African nation of Wakanda and a man who has special powers as the Black Panther, and Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, T’Challa’s cousin, who was raised in the United States and wants to use Wakanda’s sophisticated weaponry to create a black uprising around the globe.

While the two actors have both appeared in previous Marvel movies — Boseman as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War,” Jordan as the Human Torch in “Fantastic Four” — they are better known for a string of exceptional performances in standout dramas: Boseman as Jackie Robinson in “42,” James Brown in “Get on Up” and Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall,” Jordan in the lead roles in Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed.” “Black Panther” marks the first time they’ve appeared on screen together — although they did have a close call on an unexpected show many years ago, which we got into in this conversation.

Also Read: Ryan Coogler to Write and Direct ‘Black Panther’ Sequel

You’ve both done Marvel movies before this. What changes when you put Ryan Coogler behind the camera?

MICHAEL B. JORDAN It’s different for me, because I have such a personal relationship with him and such a connection with him over the years. But I feel like there’s a certain unapologetic nature to him. He’s extremely grounded and real. His filter for cheese is so strong that you only get realness out of every moment, you know? It has to be extremely authentic.

CHADWICK BOSEMAN Yep. And fundamentally, he has a lot of patience, and a very broad bandwidth for pressure. He’s willing to make the higher-ups feel uncomfortable to get something that he wants. There’s not a lot of people who can deal with that, who can say, “OK, I know what you’re saying, but here’s what we need to do right now.” ‘Cause he’s sure that this cave that he’s mining has gold or diamonds in there, and he’s not gonna stop just because you think we got it. He’s still using all the resources and all of the wisdom that people bring to the table, because there’s a lot of great people around who’ve been doing these jobs on a lot of movies. And he’s willing to soak up a lot of that and learn. But what he knows, he knows.

Also Read: ‘Black Panther’ Becomes 3rd Film Ever to Hit $700 Million at Domestic Box Office

When the African American Film Critics gave “Black Panther” its top award, the citation said the movie “changed the culture and became a defining moment for black America.” Did you feel that?

JORDAN It’s so hard when you’re making a film to feel the impact. But when we were making it, we did know that we can’t mess this one up. We knew it had a lot riding on it. Not for the sake of attention or getting praise for the project, we just knew what it meant for a lot of people.

Even now, it’s early to really say what the impact is going to be. But I feel like it’s made an impact on representation, on kids able to see themselves on screen in a bigger-than-life, powerful type of way.

BOSEMAN That speaks to the work we put into it, but it also speaks to the void in Hollywood for all these years. This is an anomaly, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like things have not been building to this point before, because there’s a lot of great, quality work that’s been done over the years — and especially in the last few years, this has been building. But it speaks to the void, that over the years Hollywood has not put its resources behind movies like this.

Also Read: Marvel Focuses on a ‘Black Panther’ Best Picture Oscar Nod, Despite New Popular Film Category

You’ve both gotten great roles in the last few years. But did you feel that void when you were coming up, and did it limit the roles that were available to you?

BOSEMAN Yes. Like, yes. My manifesto has always been to do things that help break barriers in any way I can. How do I break a barrier with this role? What can I bring to the table that’s different? That’s my manifesto. As an African American artist, and filmmaker, actor, that’s my goal literally every time. And I feel blessed to be living in a time period where we can have a “Creed,” where we can have a “Black Panther,” where we can have a “Get Out.” We can have these things where you think, “Oh shoot, that’s fresh.” And it’s not completely changed, still — I have to say that.

JORDAN We’re celebrating the progress, but we still understand that we can’t bask in it. We have to keep pushing. For me growing up in the industry, I’ve been extremely blessed to play characters that no matter how stereotypical they were on the page, somehow when it got to the screen or on the TV set it somehow didn’t feel like it.

Also Read: Black Filmmakers Directed Record Number of Top-Grossing Movies in 2018

When you were coming up, didn’t you both play the same role on the soap opera “All My Children,” and didn’t you both have a problem with how stereotypical it was?

JORDAN [Laughs] This is the first time anyone has ever asked about that! We’ve done this so much, and you’re the guy, you’re the one.

BOSEMAN I knew it was gonna happen today!

JORDAN You did? Oh, man!

BOSEMAN I was like, “There’s no way in the world it’s not happening today.”

JORDAN That’s funny. [to Boseman] Hey, man, you had [the character] first. What’s up?

BOSEMAN [Laughs] It’s one of those things where you get a role, and you don’t really know. When I got it, I was like, “This is not part of my manifesto. This is not what I want to do. How can I make it work?” Because with a soap opera, they don’t always know where the character is going, so there’s possibly room for me to adjust this and change it and make it so, as you said, it’s stereotypical on the page but not on the screen. I remember thinking, “Do I say something to them about this, or do I just do it?” And I couldn’t just do it. I had to voice my opinions. And the good thing about it was, it changed it a little bit for [Jordan, who replaced him in the role]. They said, “You are too much trouble,” but they took my suggestions, or some of them. And for me, honestly that’s what this is about.

: Andy Serkis: Chadwick Boseman Nearly Broke My Ribs in ‘Black Panther’ Fight Scene (Video)

JORDAN It’s so wild to hear you say that. I’m younger than Chad, and I was coming into “All My Children” fresh off “The Wire” — wide open, still learning. I was playing this role not knowing that a lot of the things I was going through were because of what he’d already done for me.

It’s hard to speak in the moment about how things we do can affect other people. But this is a pure example, right here on the spot — we ain’t never talked about this before a day in our lives — to understand how what people do now can directly affect what other people do in the future. And the work that we’re doing on “Black Panther” is hopefully doing the same thing for the next group of actors that are coming up, just like our predecessors opened up doors and made things easier for us.

BOSEMAN The stories that I’ve heard from Jamie Foxx or Denzel Washington, you go, “Oh, shoot, I didn’t have to deal with that.” As an artist, you educate the people you work with — producers, casting directors — so when they deal with the next person it’s not the same preconceived notions, it’s not the same pitfalls. That was set up for us by Sidney Poitier and Denzel and Laurence Fishburne and Sam Jackson and Don Cheadle, and we’re still doing that same thing every time we do a film. And we’re educating our audiences. Audiences all have to be taught to see stuff in a different way. All of this is part of that broadening of people’s bandwidth.

Also Read: ‘Black Panther’ Stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B Jordan Recall Playing the Same Role on ‘All My Children’

Even beyond what it means for representation and opportunity in Hollywood, “Black Panther” is a movie that talks about sealing off the borders or interacting with the world. You can’t watch it and not think of what’s happening today politically.

JORDAN We shot it way before all of that. People try to connect the two, but in all honesty we created this before that was even a thing.

BOSEMAN It’s part of the comic book. In [writer] Christopher Priest’s versions of the comic book, he’s playing on the independence of South Africa, on [Nelson] Mandela’s decisions of whether he should keep the border open or close the border. Obviously, he decided to keep the borders open. So they had that same argument in Wakanda in the comic book, and it just so happened that this thing that was done years ago was still topical when we did the movie.

JORDAN Now, if people want to use that as motivation or a teaching tool or a lesson — “This is how things should be done as opposed to how they are being done” — so be it.

BOSEMAN It was written before Trump was ever president, but the decision to keep it in the movie is where the courage and the political thinking came in. Here’s the thing: When they do a Marvel movie, there is an expectation of having a certain amount of profit, whether that profit is going to be $5,000 or $1 billion.

JORDAN And to keep that in knowing it’s going to be compared to Trump and it could affect that profit…

BOSEMAN You gotta give the studio credit for that. You gotta give Ryan credit for that.

JORDAN One thousand percent.

To read more of the Oscars Nominations Preview issue, click here. 

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Inside Black Filmmakers’ Record $1.5 Billion Year at the Box Office, From ‘Black Panther’ to ‘First Purge’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Black filmmakers had a record year at the box office in 2018 — earning a record $1.5 billion at the domestic box office from 16 films. (That’s double the performance in 2017, when nine films from black filmmakers grossed a combined $658.1 million domestically.)

In addition, this was the first year in which five films by black filmmakers topped $100 million in North American ticket sales in the same year.

The biggest domestic box office hit of the year was Ryan Coogler’s “The Black Panther,” which grossed $700.1 million in North America and $1.3 billion worldwide. It also featured a predominantly black cast of actors playing characters representing a range of perspectives, and addressing struggles and themes that black audiences know all too well.

But there were a wealth of hits by other black filmmakers, including Steven Caple Jr.’s Michael B. Jordan boxing film “Creed II,” which has earned $112.2 million; the $104.1 million-grossing animated hit “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” co-directed by Peter Ramsey and featuring Afro-Latino character Miles Morales as the webslinger; and Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer 2,” a Denzel Washington actioner that pulled in $102.1 million.

Even Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time” crossed the $100 million threshold — though that one is considered a disappointment given its $100 million-plus production budget, not counting marketing costs.

Also Read: Spike Lee on the New Wave of Hit-Making Black Filmmakers: ‘I Hope This Is Not a Trend’

“What we’re seeing is a combination of a number of things. We’ve seen, in the last four or five years, a renaissance of black voices and a rise of black filmmakers,” Macro founder and CEO Charles D. King said. “And you’ve got studios and financiers paying more attention to an audience that’s been historically underserved.”

In 2017, African American audiences over-indexed at the cinema, making up a higher percentage of the number of movie tickets sold (23 percent) and moviegoers (20 percent) than they do of the U.S. population (18 percent), according to data from the Motion Picture Association of America.

And while it wasn’t so long ago that Hollywood studios and producers argued that a star like Washington couldn’t open a movie abroad because he’s black, “Equalizer 2” grossed nearly half of its $190.4 million in ticket sales from theaters overseas. Similarly, “Into the Spider-Verse” has earned more than half its $213.4 million total abroad.

Also Read: ‘Sorry to Bother You’ to ‘BlacKkKlansman’: Black Auteurs Provide Surreal Takes on Race in America

It was just three years ago that the stark lack of people of color recognized at the 2015 Academy Awards led April Ryan to start the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, forcing the Academy to make drastic changes by doubling the number of black and female members in its ranks.

But this year, there’s already talk that more than one film directed by a black filmmaker — and telling a story with predominantly black voices — could earn nominations for Best Picture or even director. (Two Best Picture nods in the same year would be a first for the Academy.)

The awards chatter for “Black Panther” has been building since the film came out in February, and a nomination for that film mark a milestone for Marvel Studios and superhero films as well. The film was already nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Picture – Drama category.

Also Read: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ Director Barry Jenkins on Why Showing Vulnerability Is ‘a Sign of Strength’

Along with “Black Panther,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins adapted and directed from a James Baldwin novel, were also nominated at the Golden Globes and have been in the Oscar race conversation.

“It shows that Hollywood gets at least passing marks for allowing — or for supporting, rather, black filmmakers,” Gil Robertson, founder of the African American Film Critics Association, said.

Lee, a seminal filmmaker within the black community for three decades, told TheWrap that he’s heartened by the new wave of black filmmakers. “I just hope that this is not a trend,” he said. I hope this is steady, that it’s not just like a blip where everything came together and then nothing happens after this. We have to keep up the momentum.”

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One of the surefire ways to ensure the momentum is to continue to tell good stories that appeal to audiences and make money, King said. Hollywood is, after all, a business just like any other — films have to have a return on their investment.

The box office success of “Black Panther” is well documented, Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” has grossed $90.0 million worldwide on a reported production budget of $15 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and Boots Riley’s critically acclaimed surrealist flick “Sorry to Bother You” grossed $17.5 million domestically on a reported $3.2 million budget.

“Entertainment is a business like any other, and if you’re not being diverse and inclusive then you are literally leaving money on the table,” April Reign, founder of the #OscarsSoWhite movement, told TheWrap. “What’s happening behind the camera has always been important, but now a light has been shown on that side of it too. I think what we’re seeing is a very slow change in who are the gate keepers.”

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Though 2018 has been especially beneficial for black filmmakers and audiences, there are a number of other audiences in recent years that have slowly garnered more recognition. “Crazy Rich Asians” is among the year’s highest-grossing films, earning $238.0 million worldwide, and was also nominated for Golden Globes’ Best Picture – Comedy or Musical category. Last year, Disney’s Latino-flavored “Coco” won two Oscars for original song and best animated feature.

With the rise of production companies run by people of color — from Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions to “Creed” and “Black Panther” star Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society Productions — a focus has been put on greenlighting and supporting those voices.

“We’re seeing so many filmmakers and creators supporting each other and the community and that’s where real progress and change happens,” King said. “Before they may have just been happy to break into the room, but this group understands it’s less about breaking into the room and more how to create your own room.”

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Storm Reid
The 15-year-old actress starred in Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time” and quite frankly, stole the show. Overall, the film disappointed critics, but many praised Reid’s performance as Meg Murray.

Zazie Beetz
Zazie Be…

Spike Lee on the New Wave of Hit-Making Black Filmmakers: ‘I Hope This Is Not a Trend’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This story about Spike Lee and “BlackKklansman” star John David Washington first appeared in Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Spike Lee is quick to remind anyone that he’s in his fourth decade — not as a brag, but because he’s worked hard to reach his level and because with it comes a certain understanding of the art, the industry and the world outside he’s so keen to hold a mirror to.

In his latest film, the fact-based drama “BlacKkKlansman,” Lee pulls no punches in exploring unchecked racism and inequality, an arena he’s been exploring for his entire career. The film stars John David Washington as Ron Stallworth, the first black officer in the Colorado Springs Police Department, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.

There’s a narrative out there with “BlacKkKlansman” that Spike Lee is back.

SPIKE LEE: Where’d I go?

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON: I’m ’bout to say, he ain’t never left.

LEE: False narrative, that’s all I can say about it — still here, still living, still growing, still teaching my students. I wouldn’t be here if I let stuff get in my head and deter me from the course that I’ve been on.

You’ve been making movies for a long time, fighting a lot of the same battles and finding ways to explore some of the same issues.

LEE: The struggle continues.

WASHINGTON: We were talking about that earlier.

LEE: I got the answers — my friends call me Negrodamus.

WASHINGTON: Oh, man.

Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Fact-Check: Spike Lee’s Film Stays Close to the ‘Crazy, Outrageous, Incredible True Story’

You’ve heard this before?

WASHINGTON: I want us all to enjoy it, though. I’m not gonna interrupt.

LEE: Negrodamus. We were talking about global warming in “Do the Right Thing.” I wrote that in ’88. We were talking about gentrification in “Do the Right Thing.”

John David, when you were acting in this film you were forced to contend with this rhetoric that’s raised its head again, of people saying the N-word, and to be around these symbols of oppression…

WASHINGTON: I wouldn’t have done this for anybody else. You know Spike Lee was born to do this story. This is what he does. But those are very difficult moments, especially the banquet scenes. It was very hard. But at the same time I knew we were in the hands of a cinematic tone master. So it was going to be done the right way. That took the burden off of some of those words that we live with every day.

Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Film Review: Spike Lee Looks Back – and Forward – in Anger

Spike, you’ve probably known John David his entire life, but how did you know he could pull off this role?

LEE: I knew it. I just knew it, you know? There’s a word called cliché, but before something became a cliché it was a truth. So I’m giving you what is now a cliché: The fruit does not fall far from the mothaf—ing tree.

WASHINGTON: I’m not sure that’s the actual quote, but that’s the Spike Lee version. That’s some real for real.

LEE: I put some flavor on it.

WASHINGTON: Always. Yup, yup. Thank you, Spike.

LEE: And then I’d like to say, this man is the son of Pauletta and Denzel Washington. Because I was guilty, and my wife Tonya said, “I do not want you in front of the camera anymore, when you are referring to John David Washington, to just say ‘the son of Denzel.’”

You’ve obviously worked a lot with Denzel on films over the years. And now working with John David…

LEE: Two different people. Two different people. And I’d just like to say, it’s not easy being the son of Denzel Washington when you’re an actor — that ain’t easy. He’s not going to say it, but I took the liberty to say it. It’s not easy being related to nobody in this industry. People, this s— is no joke. This is a very serious business. You see people in all their glory, but you don’t see the hard work they put in. The years of blood, sweat and tears. I mean, this s— is hard.

WASHINGTON: You said that a couple times while we were filming. Like, it’s hard to make a bad movie.

LEE: It’s hard to make a f—ed-up movie. This is something I tell my students all the time, that this industry will eat you up and spit you out. And it takes talent but also hard work.

Also Read: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and Angela Davis: the Story of the Patrice’s Revolutionary Hero (Podcast)

We’re now seeing a lot more African American filmmakers, actors, creators being able to show what they’ve got.

WASHINGTON: On his shoulders.

LEE: It his has nothing to do with me. I just hope that this is not a trend. I hope this is steady, that it’s not just like a blip where everything came together and then nothing happens after this. We have to keep up the momentum.

WASHINGTON: And I personally would like to see more behind the camera, in those executive seats and the PR department. I would like to see more people of color doing their thing to contribute to the arts in other ways than just acting, directing or writing.

LEE: What my man says is very important, because everybody can’t be in front of the camera. And the truth is, the people with the most power are behind the camera. Everybody can’t be fabulous, you know? Can’t be getting their shine, you know?

Read more from the Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

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Golden Globe Nominee John David Washington Says People of Color ‘Are Thriving’ in Hollywood

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Following his Golden Globe Award nomination for his role in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” actor John David Washington says people of color “are thriving” in Hollywood now after years of “standing on the shoulders.”

The actor, who has also had a recurring role on Dwayne Johnson’s “Ballers,” said that while it is nice to be “invited to the party,” his focus was on the film’s director. “I was more nervous for Spike … he deserves it, man.”

“We people of color, we’ve been standing on the shoulders for a long time, and we are thriving now,” the 34-year-old actor told TheWrap. “The minorities, you know, are getting recognized more. I was hoping he’d be more recognized for his fourth decade.”

Also Read: ‘Vice,’ ‘Assassination of Gianni Versace’ Lead 2019 Golden Globes Nominations

This is Washington’s first Golden Globes nomination — but like most of the country, the actor was asleep when the broadcast started airing early Thursday morning. Thankfully, his father Denzel Washington was wide awake.

“I’m actually at my folk’s place and I was sleeping and I hear some sneaks sliding … and it’s the old man, my pops, letting me know it’s on!” Washington said. “My mom is on a plane — she’s going to Chicago to audition for ‘Hamlet,’ and we were all on the phone, and they were just saying how proud they were of me, and they are so happy for me. There might have been some tears shedding, maybe not. It was a beautiful moment.”

Denzel Washington himself has been nominated at the Golden Globes nine times throughout his career, ultimately winning two for 2000’s “The Hurricane” and 1990’s “Glory.” He also received the Cecil DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in 2016.

Also Read: Golden Globes: Marvel Scores First Best Picture Drama Nod for ‘Black Panther’

John David Washington says everybody in his category, which includes Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”), Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”), Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”) and Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), is deserving of the final award, but there’s one person from this awards season that he can’t wait to corner at the show on Jan. 6.

“There are some serious names out there who are great for what they did,” he said. “There is something that Olivia [Colman] did in ‘The Favourite’ that I would really love to corner her and ask her about … it was incredible what she did! But everybody sticks out to me.”

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‘The Bone Collector’: NBC Developing TV Adaptation of Denzel Washington Film

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

NBC is developing a TV adaptation of Denzel Washington’s 1999 film, “The Bone Collector.”

The NBC series is based on both the film and the book series by Jeffery Deaver, and follows Lincoln Rhyme, a retired genius forensic criminologist left paralyzed after an accident on the job. When a harrowing case brings him back to the force, Rhyme partners up with an ambitious young detective, Amelia Sachs, to take down some of the most dangerous criminals in the U.S.

In the film, Amelia was played by Angelina Jolie. NBC handed out a premium script order for the project.

Also Read: CW Developing ‘Lean on Me’ TV Series From LeBron James and John Legend

The project is from Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television in association with Keshet Studios. The film, which grossed $151 million at the box office globally, was distributed jointly by Universal Pictures (U.S. and Canada) and Columbia Pictures (internationally).

Boyd and Bianculli executive produce with Keshet’s Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan.

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‘Inside Philadelphia’ Podcast Marks 25th Anniversary of Breakthrough Film to Raise Money for AIDS Treatment (Exclusive)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The creators of the “Inside Jaws” podcast are turning their attention to Jonathan Demme’s stigma-shattering “Philadelphia” to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tom Hanks-Denzel Washington drama — and raise money to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide.

The 1993 film helped put a human face on the virus at a time when patients suffered horrific discrimination and ignorance. That is still true in much of the world, and through an arrangement with Coca-Cola, 100 percent of donations made by listeners of the podcast will go to support the (RED) campaign to rid the world of AIDS.

Host Mark Ramsey, who created the podcast with audio designer Jeff Schmidt, told TheWrap that he sought and received the blessing of Hanks, Washington, “Philadelphia” screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, and Joanne Howard, wife of Demme, who died last year at 73.

Also Read: ‘Inside Jaws,’ About Steven Spielberg’s Rise, Lures Hollywood Interest (Podcast)

“I think this is the first podcast built to support a charity like this, and for which two movie stars portrayed in the podcast gave their blessing,” Ramsey said.

“People Like Us: Inside Philadelphia,” a two-part series, will appear Thursday wherever you listen to podcasts, including here, the site for Ramsey and Schmidt’s production company, Wondery.

The series will also be embedded on the donation page for (RED).

Also Read: Showtime Launches Companion Podcast for Limited Series ‘Escape at Dannemora’ (Exclusive)

“People Like Us: Inside Philadelphia” follows Ramsey and Schmidt’s past podcasts about film history, all of which have focused on horror stories: “Inside Jaws,” “Inside The Exorcist,” and”Inside Psycho.”

The podcast will focus not just on the making of the film, but also on the perceived box-office risk of addressing a subject millions of Americans actively avoided talking about — and the dangers of taking on such an important subject for the first time and mishandling it.

It’s easy to forget the significance of “Philadelphia,” the first mass-market film about HIV/AIDS and how prejudice and homophobia initially kept Americans from fighting the disease with the ferociousness it deserved. It debuted in the same year as another landmark story about the disease, the TV docudrama “And the Band Played On,” based on Randy Shilts’ book.

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In her 1993 review of “Philadelphia” for the New York Times, Janet Maslin credited Demme with taking a huge risk by bringing the story to the screen — though she wished it had been bolder. She wrote:

For a film maker who thrives on taking chances, “Philadelphia” sounds like the biggest gamble of all. As the first high-profile Hollywood film to take the AIDS plague seriously, Jonathan Demme’s latest work has stubborn preconceptions to overcome as well as enormous potential to make waves. What it does not have, despite the fine acting and immense decency that give it substance, is much evidence of Mr. Demme’s usual daring. Maybe that’s not surprising: it isn’t easy to leave fingerprints when you’re wearing kid gloves.

“Philadelphia” centers on Hanks’ character, an HIV-positive attorney, who enlists Washington to sue his firm when he’s fired because of his diagnosis. Washington’s character wrestles with his own homophobia in the process.

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The film doesn’t have the directness of later films and TV shows that have addressed the AIDS crisis for a wide audience. But it helped open the door to many of those projects. And it changed perceptions by making Tom Hanks — one of America’s most likable movie stars — the face of the mysterious and frightening disease. Haunting songs by Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young helped draw more attention from mainstream audiences previously unfamiliar with content about HIV/AIDS.

The film also included more than 50 HIV-positive extras who put real faces to the disease, to take audiences beyond the Hollywood story and make them confront the reality of the crisis.

“It’s hard to put our heads back to where they were 25 years ago,” Ramsey said. “And it’s hard for people to know that in 2018, AIDS remains a huge fatal diagnoses in the world for a lot of people who don’t have access to medication, which (RED) is trying to fix.”

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Denzel Washington to Receive 2019 AFI Life Achievement Award

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Denzel Washington has been named the recipient of the 2019 American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award, the organization announced Friday.

The star of “Training Day,” “Fences,” “Malcolm X” among many more will receive the award at a gala tribute on June 6, 2019 in Los Angeles. The event will be aired on TNT followed by an encore presentation on Turner Classic Movies.

“Denzel Washington is an American icon,” said Sir Howard Stringer, chair, AFI Board of Trustees in a statement. “As an actor, he stands tall as a heroic, stoic embodiment of the best in all of us, and he does so with heart, humanity and one of the brightest smiles to ever light up the screen. Equally formidable as director and producer, he is a creative force to be reckoned with — and one of the most vital, relevant artists working today. AFI is proud to present him with its 47th Life Achievement Award.”

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The 2018 recipient was George Clooney.

Washington is a two-time Oscar winner for “Glory” and “Training Day.” He most recently starred in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” and “The Equalizer 2.”

The AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees in 1973. Notable past winners include Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Harrison Ford, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Al Pacino.

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Lena Dunham Joins Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Cast

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Lena Dunham has joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap. Dunham will play the role of Gypsy. This is Dunham’s first major feature film role.

In addition, Austin Butler has joined the cast as Tex, Maya Hawke will play fictional character Flower Child, and Lorenza Izzo will play Francesca Capucci, a glamorous Italian movie star.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” visits 1969 Los Angeles, where onetime TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) make their way in an industry they hardly recognize anymore.  The ninth film from the writer-director features a large ensemble cast and multiple storylines in a tribute to the final moments of Hollywood’s golden age.

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The film is written and directed by Tarantino. Producers are David Heyman, Tarantino, and Shannon McIntosh.

Sony has slated the film to be released on July 26, 2019.

Dunham is represented by CAA. Her credits include “Camping,” “Girls,” “American Horry Story: Cult,” and Tiny Furniture.

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Butler is represented by WME and Anonymous Content. He just starred opposite Denzel Washington in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production of “The iceman Cometh.”

Hawke is represented by CAA and Untitled. Her credits include “Stranger Things” and the recently released “Little Women.”

Izzo is represented by Authentic and Paradigm. Her credits include “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” and “Life Itself.”

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Antoine Fuqua on Clearing Paths for Black Filmmakers, Taking Denzel International

Read on: Variety.

LOCARNO, Switzerland — Originally announced as a movie re-teaming, post “Southpaw,” Antoine Fuqua and Jake Gyllenhaal’s “The Man Who Made It Snow” is now set up at Epix as a limited TV series, Fuqua said Saturday at Locarno Festival, where …

Ashton Sanders on His Roles in ‘Equalizer 2,’ ‘Captive State’ and ‘Native Son’

Read on: Variety.

After his breakout performance as the teenage Chiron in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar winner “Moonlight,” Ashton Sanders has a jam-packed movie schedule, with the recent opening of “The Equalizer 2” with Denzel Washington and the upcoming “Native Son” and “Capt…