Langston Hughes conceived of Black Nativity in the 1960s as a euphoric stage musical version of the birth of Jesus with a black cast. The show is still regularly performed as written, but writer/director Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) chose to add material to create a more traditional narrative throughline for the feature adaptation. In the movie, a single Baltimore mother (Jennifer Hudson) sends her son Langston (newcomer Jacob Latimore) to stay with her estranged parents (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) in New York City during the holidays. While there, Langston falls asleep in the Chistmas Eve sermon and dreams of a “Times Square Bethlehem.” Latimore says the songbook has something for everyone: “The music is just like the music nowadays. Some R&B, soulful gospel and a little rap before I go through my spiritual journey.”
To give you an idea of the tone: Mary J. Blige, sporting electrified blonde curls, plays a mysterious guardian angel character named “Platinum Fro.” That alone should compel you to check out the first images from Black Nativity after the jump.
We’ve been provided with eight clips from director Adam Shankman’s (Hairspray) upcoming movie musical Rock of Ages to share with our readers. The film stars Julianne Hough as a small-town girl with big dreams who falls for a rock star (Tom Cruise), but the film is packed with 80s songs from the likes of Journey, Foreigner, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. Joining in on the 80s fun is Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand,Malin Akerman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Diego Boneta, Mary J. Blige, and Bryan Cranston.
Hit the jump to watch the clips. If you missed any of Steve’s set visit coverage, be sure to check out 20 things to know about the film and his interviews with Shankman, Boneta and Hough. Rock of Ages opens on June 15th.
Though this summer is filled with superhero and sci-fi fare to the max, we’ve also got a full-on movie musical to look forward to. Warner Bros. has released 30 new high-resolution images from director Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages. The film stars Julianne Hough as a small-town girl with big dreams who falls for a rock star (Tom Cruise), but it’s packed with 80’s songs from the likes of Journey, Foreigner, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. Cruise and Hough are joined by a stacked supporting cast in 100% 80’s garb that includes Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Malin Akerman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Diego Boneta, Mary J. Blige, and Bryan Cranston.
Hit the jump to check out the images. Rock of Ages opens on June 15th.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting that there’s a Tom Cruise rock musical coming this summer in between all the superhero fare. While we’ve only gotten brief glimpses of the musical numbers from Rock of Ages in the film’s trailers, a full music video for the stars’ rendition of Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” has gone online. I actually think the idea for Rock of Ages is solid, but I absolutely cannot stand the production on these songs. Director Adam Shankman recruited Glee’s music producer Adam Anders to produce the songs for Rock of Ages, and all the choruses sound way, way, way overproduced. “Any Way You Want It” doesn’t sound terrible thanks to Mary J. Blige, but any time the chorus comes in I’m immediately taken out of the number.
In addition to the music video, an audio sample of Cruise singing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” has also landed online. Again, it’s overproduced, but Cruise doesn’t sound terrible on his own. Hit the jump to take a listen to the songs. Rock of Ages opens on June 15th.
We’ve got a few new posters to share with you this evening. Briefly:
- On the Road – New character posters showcasing Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund from director Walter Salles’ adaptation of the Jack Kerouac novel.
- Rock of Ages – An ensemble poster from the 80s rock musical starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin, and Russell Brand.
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – A new poster from the blood-filled twist on the story of our nation’s 16th President. Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, and Anthony Mackie star.
- Neighborhood Watch – A new poster for the sci-fi comedy starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade as bored men who join a neighborhood watch group for fun.
Hit the jump to check out the new posters.
If the first trailer for director Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages didn’t blow your denim miniskirt up, perhaps this new one will. The Hairspray director leads this feature film adaptation of the Broadway musical by the same name. Centering on a small town girl (Julianne Hough) who falls in love with an all-star rocker (Tom Cruise), Rock of Ages will feature 1980s hits by such classic bands as Journey, Foreigner, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. This particular trailer ends on a high note of sorts with Cruise rocking out to Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Rock of Ages, also starring Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Mary J. Blige, opens June 15th. Hit the jump to check out the new trailer.
Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for the feature adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages. The film tells the story of a small town girl (Julianne Hough) who falls in love with a larger-than-life rocker (Tom Cruise) set against the backdrop of the 1980s music scene, featuring songs from the likes of Journey, Foreigner, Styx, and REO Speedwagon. The gist of the trailer is that if you like 80s rock, you’ll probably like a musical that only features 80s rock and uses it as a basis for the plot. But there’s also an important lesson: When sleazy guy played by Paul Giamatti give you a chance at fame, you take him up on his obviously legit offer.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer and poster. The film also stars Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Malin Akerman, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Mary J. Blige. Directed by Adam Shankman (Hairspray), Rock of Ages opens on June 1, 2012.
The Help, adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name, is one of those films that makes you laugh and cry, and then think of the Oscars. The performances are terrific from everyone, the story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and the music is perfectly complimentary. Multiple Grammy Award-winning recording artist Mary J. Blige contributed to the score by writing and recording the original end-credit song, “The Living Proof,” after she was touched when she saw an early screening of the film. Inspired by the women in the story, she was moved by the celebration of courage and wanted to help get the film’s message out to audiences.
At the film’s press day, music superstar Mary J. Blige, who has sold over 50 million albums in her career, talked about how easily the end-credits song for The Help came from her emotional reaction to the film, how she hopes the song gets recognized come award season, the secret to sustaining a 20-year career in the music industry, how she keeps her live performances fresh and exciting for each audience, and how she is finishing up her next album, My Life II: The Journey Continues. She also talked about her desire to do more acting, her upcoming role in the highly anticipated Rock of Ages, opposite Tom Cruise and Julianne Hough, and how she would like her career to follow in the footsteps of Queen Latifah, whose proven that you can do it all. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Adam Shankman’s musical Rock of Ages has been searching for months to find its “Constance”, the journalist who sleeps with decadent rock star Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) even though she’s supposed to be writing an expose about him. The project courted Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams, but both actresses passed on the film after they were offered roles in superhero movies (Hathaway for The Dark Knight Rises and Adams for Man of Steel). Today, Rock of Ages finally has its Constance as Deadline reports that Malin Akerman will take the role. In addition to Tom Cruise, Akerman will be joining Alec Baldwin, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Diego Boneta, Julianne Hough, Bryan Cranston, and Catherine Zeta Jones.
Rock of Ages is the latest film to fall into Akerman’s packed schedule. She’s currently shooting Medallion with Nicolas Cage, she replaced Lindsay Lohan in Inferno: The Linda Lovelace Story, she’s co-starring in the romantic comedy The Giant Mechanical Man, and she’s starring opposite Ethan Hawke in the spy thriller The Numbers Station. Akerman can currently be seen in theaters co-starring in the war drama The Bang Bang Club and she has two more films coming out later this year: the indie crime thriller Criminal Empire for Dummy’s and the David Wain comedy Wanderlust. Rock of Ages is due out June 1, 2012.
Catherine Zeta-Jones scored an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her work in 2002′s Chicago and now it looks like she’ll be making a return to the musical genre. THR reports that Zeta-Jones has joined Adam Shankman’s adaptation of the Broadway musical Rock of Ages. Zeta-Jones will play the film’s villain, a character who isn’t in the Broadway version, but is described by Shankman as “if Tipper Gore and Anita Bryant had a love child. She is this hardcore, moral majority, arch-conservative who wants to shut down rock’n roll in the great city of Los Angeles.” Shankman says the character was devised as a way to streamline various storylines.
Zeta-Jones, who has been absent from screens the past several years, is a welcome addition to the cast since she can hit the trifecta of acting, singing, and dancing. She also recently joined Lay the Favorite starring Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall, as well as the comedy Playing the Field starring Gerard Butler. Rock of Ages‘s cast includes an interesting mix of famous faces (Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Russell Brand) as well as up-and-comers Diego Gonzalez Boneta and Julianne Hough. Hit the jump for a synopsis of Rock of Ages, which is set to open on June 1, 2012.
Amy Adams is reportedly being “heavily courted” to join Adam Shankman’s upcoming musical, Rock of Ages. Deadline reports that Adams is being offered the role of a journalist who plans to write a scathing expose of decadent rock star Stacee Jax (played by Tom Cruise) but ends up sleeping with him instead after they do a duet of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is”. The role was initially offered to Anne Hathaway, but the scheduling conflicted with her time playing Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises.
Adams previously did some fantastic singing in Enchanted and she’s set to sing again in The Muppets. If Adams signs on to Rock of Ages, she’ll join not only Cruise, but also Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and Julianne Hough. Deadline reports that we should know by early next week if Adams has taken the gig. Rock of Ages is currently set to open on June 1, 2012.
Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, and Julianne Hough have spent recent weeks negotiating with New Line to star in Rock of Ages. Director Adam Shankman (Hairspray) has confirmed their involvement via Twitter. Shankman also promises “more to come,” which may address the rumored involvement of Anne Hathaway, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Russell Brand.
Justin Theroux (Iron Man 2) is currently polishing the script written by Allan Loeb (The Switch) based on the Broadway musical about a small town girl (Hough) who falls in love with a rocker in the fictionally famous LA rock club, The Bourbon Club. Set in 1987, the stage show is fueled by the hair metal of the era, including songs by Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagan, Pat Benatar, and Twisted Sister.
The ever-growing list of stars that are “circling” or “in talks” to appear in director Adam Shankman’s (Hairspray) adaptation of the stage musical Rock of Ages has just added one more name. Russell Brand is apparently looking at starring in the film as Lonnie, who runs the 80’s rock club The Bourbon. Alec Baldwin is said to be looking at the role of the owner of that club, who sings a rousing rendition of “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon with Brand’s character.
The musical takes place in 1987 and tells the story of “a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s.” We recently told you that Gwyneth Paltrow was offered a role in the film. Deadline reports that Tom Cruise will close a deal to headline the film as aging rocker Stacee Jax shortly. Mary J. Blige is also in talks to join the cast. The script for the film was originally written by the musical’s book writer Chris D’Arienzo, but has since seen a revision by Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt. Production is looking towards a May start date.
R&B singer Mary J. Blige is in talks to star in the screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Rock of Ages. Adam Shankman (Hairspray) will direct and choreograph the film, which takes place in 1987 on the Sunset Strip: “a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80s.” In case you were wondering, the greatest songs of the 1980s were recorded by the likes of Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, and Poison.
Talks with Tom Cruise to join the cast are ongoing. Hit the jump for the official synopsis of the musical, and a bit of info on which roles Blige and Cruise will play.
Cynthia Mort (Tell Me You Love Me) has found the star for her Nina Simone biopic–elegantly titled Nina–in R&B singer Mary J. Blige. According to THR, Mort’s screenplay centers around Simone’s relationship with assistant Clifton Henderson, whom David Oyelowo (The Last King of Scotland) has signed on to play. Simone rose to fame as a jazz vocalist/pianist in the 1950s and 1960s and became heavily involved in the civil rights movement in the late sixties. Blige is most famous for her powerful vocals and R&B stylings, but recently appeared in the Tyler Perry film I Can Do Bad All by Myself. This is the second casting of a musical figure of recent note, as it was announced last week that Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) would play Nigerian icon Fela Kuti in a Focus Features biopic directed by Steve McQueen (Hunger).
Because any reason to post Simone’s version of “Feelin’ Good” is a good one, listen to a clip of the soulful number after the break.