Posted Dec. 17, 2007 -- Denzel Washington and the young stars of his new film "The Great Debaters" attended a special screening in Marshall, Tex. on Thursday to salute the town that produced the 1930s debate team portrayed in the Golden Globe-nominated movie.
"This is where it started," Washington said at the screening, according to the Associated Press. "You can feel it. These are real people. It's a small-town story. I've done a few screenings of this movie, but this is the best one."
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Washington, 52, stars as former Wiley College debate team coach Melvin Tolson, who led the all-black school's elite debate team in becoming a national powerhouse. The debate team at Wiley has been defunct for years. Washington said he'd like to see it resurrected.
The film, opening on Christmas Day, recently won the Stanley Kramer Award, given annually to recognize films involving provocative social issues.
Gooding, Elba Join Juice Crew
Keke Palmer finally has some company in the upcoming indie film "The Vapors," about the legendary Juice Crew. Palmer, who will play Roxanne Shante, will be joined by Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. as founder/producer Marley Marl, rapper David Banner as Biz Markie and Diana Ross' son Evan Ross as MC Shan, reports blackfilm.com.
Also joining the cast is Idris Elba as Tyrone "Fly Ty" Williams and Jackie Long as Mr. "Smooth Operator," Big Daddy Kane.
The Queens-based Juice Crew was launched in the mid-eighties by DJ Marley Marl, an on-air assistant to WBLS radio personality Mr. Magic. Named after one of Magic's aliases, Sir Juice, the crew members also included Craig G, Tragedy Khadafi, Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, Masta Ace, TJ Swan, and Cool V. Mr. Magic will be portrayed in the film by veteran actor Clifton Powell.
“The Vapors” will begin filming next month under director Furqaan Clover ("Queen of Media: The Wendy Williams Story"). Questionmark Entertainment and Marley Marl, Roxanne Shante and Big Daddy Kane are executive producers on the film while Indiefilmx.com will produce.
Singleton to Bring Back "A Team"
Director John Singleton is set to direct the bigscreen version of 1980s TV series "The A-Team," reports Variety.com.
Twentieth Century Fox is in early talks with the helmer to resuscitate the gang, but the studio said no deal is in place, and the project is not envisioned as a pre-SAG/DGA strike affair. Ice Cube, who starred in Singleton's debut, "Boyz N the Hood," has been rumored as a potential B.A. Baracas (played by Mr. T in the NBC series), but Fox denied that possibility.
The latest incarnation, penned by Jayson Rothwell, revolves around a group of Iraq vets wanted by the U.S. military for a crime they didn't commit. Their adventures combine helping the innocent while running from the law. The story been given a modern twist by involving oil tycoons and laser technology.
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"Edison Force" Premieres on Spike
Spike TV will handle the U.S. broadcast premiere of "Edison Force," starring Morgan Freeman LL Cool J and Justin Timberlake, on Sunday, Dec. 23 at 10 p.m. The action-thriller follows a fresh-faced journalist (Timberlake) who finds his life in danger when he uncovers a den of corruption in the Edison police department. The movie will air under the new "Spike Guy Movies" umbrella.
Celebs Help Get the Vote Out
Actor-musician Malcolm-Jamal Warner is part of a voter registration campaign mounted by four of the nation's largest cable companies to increase minority participation in the 2008 primary elections.
Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks will begin running four public service announcements starting Saturday and leading up to Election Day on Nov. 4.
In addition to Warner, the spots will also feature Ana Ortiz of "Ugly Betty," Lou Diamond Phillips of "La Bamba" and comedian Margaret Cho. The $5 million campaign also includes a Web site, http://www.ourtimetovote.com, and a voters' hot line, 1-866-544-VOTE.