Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o was unknown to American audiences before her scene-stealing role as slave Patsey in Best Picture Oscar winner “12 Years A Slave.” Now, after winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar (the first African actress to do so) and giving an incredibly moving speech, Nyong’o is on her way to becoming a household name. But did you know that before being cast in “12 Years A Slave,” Nyong’o played the lead role on a ground-breaking Kenyan soap opera?
According to MTV News, Nyong’o once starred in an MTV/UNICEF-produced soap called “Shuga.” On the show Nyong’o played Ayira, a “very modern woman who must navigate the waters of dating, love, and sex in Africa and the responsibilities that come with it.” The show was considered revolutionary in Kenya because it was one of the first times a show featured a woman dealing with sex in a responsible way during the AIDS crisis in Africa.
Curious about what a Kenyan soap opera might look like? Below is the first episode of “Shuga,” featuring Lupita Nyong’o.
UPDATE 2/22: Jordan has now confirmed his “Fantastic Four” status – tweeting out “FLAME ON!” and the “Fantastic Four” logo to his 140K Twitter followers.
PREVIOUS: Michael B. Jordan has come a long way since his role on “All My Children” as streetwise teenager Reggie Porter. He’s won several independent awards for his role in 2013′s “Fruitvale Station,” the highly-talked about drama about the real-life murder of teenager Oscar Grant. He can also now be seen in the comedy “That Awkward Moment,” alongside Zac Efron (“High School Musical”) and Miles Teller (“The Spectacular Now”). But in 2015, Jordan may be stepping into his biggest role yet.
According to Deadline.com, Jordan is currently in talks to join the cast of Marvel’s “Fantastic Four” as Johnny Storm AKA The Human Torch. Also in talks for the principal characters are Kate Mara (“House of Cards”), Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot”), and Jordan’s “That Awkward Moment” co-star Miles Teller.
James Franco – he’s an actor, writer, former Academy Awards co-host, an Oscar nominee, a Golden Globe winner, and former “General Hospital” star. The man who shocked the world in 2009 when he leapt from Oscar-nominated film “Milk” to star as the villainous Franco on “GH” is a man of many talents. But did you know he’s also a film director?
In perhaps his biggest directorial effort yet, Franco adapts “Child of God,” a film based on a Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. A teaser trailer for the film was released last August, but now we’re getting a first full-length look at the film.
Hot on the heels of her starring role in “Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas,” “The Haves and the Have Nots” and “One Life to Live” actress Tika Sumpter along with actors Kevin Hart and Ice Cube is set to take the weekend box office with their new film “Ride Along.”
With an estimated $48.1 million four-day holiday weekend haul, the Universal Pictures movie about a fast-talking security guard named Ben (Hart), who joins his cop soon-to-be brother-in-law James (Cube) on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela (Sumpter), James’ sister, is set to shatter January box office records, reports Deadline Hollywood.
According to TVLine, Luke Grimes is exiting HBO’s “True Blood” after reported creative differences with show producers over the future of his character, James. “He initially joined the show because he wanted to work with [his 'Forever' co-star] Deborah Ann Woll,” said an insider to the website. “But when he started reading the scripts for Season 7, he was disappointed to learn that they were going in a completely different direction with James.”
Grimes joined the cast of the series in season 6, which found James mostly sexing it up with Woll’s Jessica. He was expected to continue in the role through the upcoming seventh and final season, which begins shooting in late January. The role will be recast, says an HBO representative.
Former “All My Children” star Cady McClain (ex-Dixie Cooney) announced recently that her short film, “Flip Fantasia,” has been accepted into the 9th Annual Macon Film Festival, which will be held from February 27 – March 2, 2014 and will take place at the Cox Capitol Theatre, The Douglass Theatre and The 567 Center for Renewal in downtown Macon, GA. Describing the film she wrote, produced and directed on her website, McClain says, “I made this as a labor of love right out of my heart.” She adds, “It’s a love song to NYC, to my wild youth, to crazy people I have known that changed my life, to being raw, to innocence, to friendship, to true hearts, to broken hearts, and to the pain of having to deal with the hardest parts of life when you are very, very young… as I did.”
Now playing in a theater near you, “Tyler Perry‘s A Madea Christmas” follows Perry’s titular character, Mabel “Madea” Simmons, as she accompanies her niece, Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford), to pay a surprise visit to Eileen’s daughter, Lacey, who has mysteriously informed her she’s not coming home for the holidays. In reality, Lacey followed Connor (Eric Lively), the man she loves and secretly married, from the big city to a small Alabama town as he fights to save his family farm from bankruptcy.
Portraying Lacey is Tika Sumpter (Candace Young, “The Haves and the Have Nots”; ex-Layla Williamson, “One Life to Live”), who says of her character, “She’s from the city so she knows how to hustle a bit. She’s a kind-hearted, good person – she wants good for all – but in her trying to do good sometimes she says the wrong things and spreads a few small lies that plant the seeds of disaster.”
FILMS & DEALS
Lionsgate announced today that it has acquired the feature film rights to “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” the New York Times bestselling biographical tale that questions the details about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Authored by Dr. Reza Aslan, “Zealot” was released to bookstores and online publishing retailers earlier this year.
“Reza Aslan has written a remarkable book that manages to bring the ancient world into contemporary relief and to make a timeless story very timely. We are excited to create this uniquely cinematic and immersive world for moviegoers to experience,” said Erik Feig, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group’s President of Production, in announcing the deal.
Dr. Aslan commented, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Lionsgate. Their vision for ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth’ is aligned with my objective in writing the book, which was to illuminate the life of Jesus in a humanistic, as opposed to religious, context.”
“It started as a friendship, but one night became an obsession” is the message behind “Nurse 3D,” a new thriller that finds Paz de la Huerta (“Boardwalk Empire”) as Abby Russell, a nurse by day at All Saints Memorial Hospital; by night, Abby hits up the hottest night clubs looking to lure unfaithful men into dangerous dalliances. A new arrival at the hospital, Danni Rogers (played by Katrina Bowden; ”30 Rock,” “One Life to Live”) finds herself receiving unwelcoming attention from Abby, who at first appears to want friendship, but when Danni doesn’t seem interested in the type friendship offered, Abby becomes obsessed and begins to turn Danni’s world into a living hell. Corbin Bleu (ex-Jeffrey King, “OLTL”) also stars in the film as Danni’s boyfriend, Steve. The cast is rounded out by Judd Nelson as Dr. Robert Morris, Boris Kodjoe as Detective Rogan, Adam Herschman as Jared, Niecy Nash as Regina, and Martin Donovan as Larry Cook.
Halloween 2014 is looking super spooky already: Soap stars Brandon Beemer (ex-Owen Knight, “The Bold and the Beautiful”) and Felisha Terrell (ex-Arianna Hernandez, “Days of our Lives”) have joined the cast of “Fear Clinic,” a horror film based on the successful FearNet.com web series “The Fear Chamber.”
The film version follows Robert Englund (Freddy Kruger in the “Nightmare Before Elm Street” franchise) as Dr. Andover, a physician who treats patients afflicted with crippling phobias via hallucinations he creates using his homemade exposure therapy invention, The Fear Chamber. A tragic event sends five people to the good doctor who, while trying to help them overcome their trauma, discovers something very sinister may be at work.