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Mario Van Peebles is currently directing Curtis Jackson in Things Fall Apart and, based on Jackson’s past thespian efforts, that’s not terribly exciting. But now Ray Liotta is joining the cast, so that’s a positive turn. Jackson is playing “a star football running back…who faces a personal tragedy as well as his own mortality while in his senior year in college.” Liotta will now play his doctor, which will make a nice change from playing intimidating cops and the like, which Liotta gets all too often.¬† [Variety]

After the break, Lone Scherfig (An Education) and Madonna get new talent for their next films. Read More »

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On the blah blah rounds to promote her latest picture The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, producer Nina Jacobson has let slip the main talent attached to upcoming project One Day. She revealed that as well as director Lone Scherfig, BAFTA nominated for An Education, there’s also potential stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess in orbit too. The contracts aren’t signed yet, said Jacobson, but “their deals are being negotiated right now.”

One Day is to be adapted from David Nicholls‘ novel of the same name. The book’s big idea is that the narrative is set on St. Swithin’s day only, but on that day every year over a 20 year period from 1988 to 2008. Expect to see Hathaway and Sturgess subjected to a whole roster of fancy haircuts and fashions, then.

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When Focus Features announced in January the intent to make a biopic based on the life of Nigerian band leader and activist Fela Kuti, I was immediately intrigued. Would the film look¬† more at his music, or his status as sort of an emergent voice of the people? A mix of both is likely (and necessary) but now that we know the film’s director, I expect the political overtones will take priority. Steve McQueen, director of the film Hunger, will take the reigns, according to Variety. This is great and interesting news; now I can’t wait to see who he casts, and to what extent he’s known in North America.

When this was first announced, Fela Kuti was primarily a name known to music geeks and lovers of afrobeat, the dance-inducing form he invented. But now there’s a Broadway musical that portrays his life and work in a massively upbeat manner. That’s not the basis for this film, which will instead draw from the book Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon, by Michael Veal. Fela’s history is too detailed and incredible to recount here; suffice to say that if cast properly he’ll be a wildly captivating subject for the screen. Doing his music justice will take some real magic, though. Driven in part by drummer Tony Allen, Fela’s primordial afrobeat tunes were equal parts jazz, funk and circular rhythm, overlaid with spoken/sung tales of injustice. Check out Fela in action here.

After the break, some Fela tunes, and news on An Education director Lone Scherfig‘s next film. Read More »

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