47: TRISTAN WILDS OF "THE WIRE"
Finger licking good but definitely free range, organic scoop. Read on.
OVERSEEN & OVERHEARD
HUSH YOUR MOUTH...According to our friends over at EUR, The Laugh Factory has just banned Damon Wayans for using the "N" word. The comedian apparently used the term 16 times during his 20-minute set last weekend and has just been banned from performing at the venue for the next three months--and was fined $320 for his routine ($20 for each time he used the word). Then, at the Improv Andy Dick used the N-word in an apparent attempt to joke about Michael Richards. The actor-comedian issued an apology through his publicist. Meanwhile Enss Mitchell, owner of Comedy Union, a black comedy club in L.A., says he is welcoming the word. The A-List was thinking perhaps when venues start putting themselves in these kinds of positions, it can really cause problems as well. How many other words or phrases will be banned? How does it affect art overall? Who can say what art is and isn't? Between this and all the security checks and everything else, could we going backward instead of forward. The real issue just might not be the word but lack of true integration still in society and spiritual enlightenment. That doesn't come from banning words but, dare we say, by encouraging dialogue.
STAR POWER...Ah, but speaking of dialogue and the N word, a group of celebs are gathering in Los Angeles on December 17, 2006 to share their stories, feelings about the use of the N word for Abolish the “N” Word (abolishthenword.com). Finally some true discussion on the issue The stories will be compiled and sold as a DVD that will be used in schools and by organizations to help educate not only children, but all people who are unaware of the pain associated with the “N” Word. We'll let you know what A-Listers are on the DVD, but we'd love to the see the same applied next to the war in Iraq, the Katina situation, police brutality, and other vital issue. Just our two cents.
SETTING IT OFF...This just in. Word is Spike Lee will direct a new film about the 1992 L.A. riots, called just that--L.A. Riots. The project will be an Imagine Entertainment production for Universal Pictures. The screenplay will be penned by none other than Three Kings scripter John Ridley (left). With all the right people in place, this sounds like this could be an Oscar winner if done right.
CALL FOR ENTRIES...The Fifth Annual Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival has put out a call for entries. Deadline is June 15, 2007. Festival happens on August 8-11, 2007. For more info, hit http://www.mvaaff.com/. Let's hope this fest continues to grow and open doors for newcomers into the film game.
BRITISH BONANZA...Lots going on over at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. There are screenings from Dec. 13-Jan. 4, 2007 of such flicks as the acclaimed Vietnam war documentary Hearts and Minds; His Big White Self; and Kirby Dick's bracing and often hilarious investigation into the antiquated U.S. film censorship system in This Film Is Not Yet Rated. There's also Sisters In Law, the uplifting story of a pair of female prosecutors in Kumba Town, Cameroon; and Favela Rising, a documentary set in and amongst the young people of Rio de Janeiro’s most feared and violent favela (slum). And on Dec. 16, there will be a free discussion called "Science Fiction and Black Female Perspectives." For more info, check out www.ica.org.uk.
TOP COPS?...We knew it was only a matter of time before one of the Jackson clan wound up on reality TV. Well, LaToya will now appear in a new CBS reality show called “Armed and Famous," which features celebrities as real reserve officers for the Muncie, Indiana, police force. The other celebrity cops include: Erik Estrada, Jack Osbourne, Wee Man from “Jackass” fame, and pro wrestler Trish Stratus. Sounds like someone should be policing the programming department.
SONY MAKES BOX OFFICE HISTORY
Despite the continuing problem of sagging ticket sales, Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced that it reached $3 billion in worldwide box office sales this year, which only two other studios in movie history have ever achieved--Warner Bros. Pictures in 2004 and '05, as well asWalt Disney Pictures in 2003. Sony says it expects to finish the year with an 18% market share. The studio's top grosser was The Da Vinci Code with more than $750 million worldwide. Other Sony films crossing the $100 million domestic box office mark: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Click and Casino Royale. Sony also expects the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness, opening December 15, to also generate at least $100 million at the box office.
FACE TO WATCH: TRISTAN WILDS OF "THE WIRE"
Many television critics call it the best show on the small screen, yet the mostly African-American cast of the HBO drama "The Wire" rarely gets a peep from the press. So The A-List decided to check in with one of the show's stars--Tristan Wilds.
While Wilds is in good company with fellow actors--Method Man, Glynn Turman, Frankie Faison, Wendell Pierce, and Lance Reddick, among others--this young actor really stands out, thanks in part to such strong support from notable Black directors Ernest Dickerson and director Seith Mann, and playwright Kia Corthron, who is one of the show's writers. It's not often we come across a young rising star that has the skills and the potential of being great. Wilds is one of those young stars. This Staten Island, NY native is currently staring in the fourth season of "The Wire" (http://www.hbo.com/thewire/) and has everyone taking notice. The audience is bound to increase even further as BET readies to run the series in Janurary. Wilds, who is part of the "school" crew, plays Michael Lee, the reserved quiet observer of the streets of Baltimore. We first got a glimpse of Wilds and his talents in a Spike Lee directed miniseries "Miracle's Boys" as AJ, and in this years critically acclaimed film Half Nelson with Ryan Gosling.
The A-List was recently able to catch up and talk to this busy artist amid his busy, busy acting schedule and high school (yes, he attends a regular high school) and shared a little about the show, his aspirations, and his other passions besides acting.
Q: What's the atmosphere like on the set of "The Wire"?
A: "The Wire" is more like a family environment, that's why I love it. I mean, for me being there for so long, all of us have grown as a family. Being in one spot for eight months you get to know everybody and everybody becomes a family from the actors to the producers to the people who put up the lights, everybody becomes like an uncle or best friend. So it's real nice.
Q: A lot of people view "The Wire" as sort of the "black show" on cable TV because of the huge black cast. Is the show is as diversified or "black" behind the scenes as it is in front of the camera?
A: Yes and no. There are some black people who work behind the scenes and some white people who work behind the scenes. It's kind of mixed up. A variety of people.
Q:In terms of the writing, do the actors have leeway with the writers? Is there an open door policy or is it just here is the script? Are they open to suggestions?
A: We don't have as much leeway as we could because of the way they've written the show. As far as open to suggestions, it all depends on how they want the story to end up. To tell you the truth, "The Wire" is a story they already had figured out for the whole five seasons. They already have what happens at the beginning and what happens at the end.
Q: Where do you see the character in "The Wire" going in the upcoming season?
A: He's going to get more immersed in the game. That's all I'm going to say. Everything else I have to keep on the hush hush.
Q: Who would you like to work with ideally?
A: A lot of people like Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Fox, Denzel Washington, Robert DeNero, a lot of people.
Q:What are some of the roles you would like to tackle in the future?
A: I want to be diverse. I would like to do more comedies, dramas, or a drama where I would have to cry or something really emotional.
Q: We hear you are a budding poet. How long have you been writing Poetry?
A: I've been writing poetry since I was about 14. Haven't had any of my poetry published but this year I'm thinking about putting my poems in one of my school publications. I saw my sister writing one day and I had all these things on my mind and I can't get them off and I don't feel like I can talk to anyone else so I just started writing it down.
Q: Any Final comments?
A: Yea, watch "The Wire". Things are about to start to heat up!
It's somewhat hard difficult for The A-List to write this review. Perhaps secretly, or in many cases not so secretly, we love being able to point out the mis-steps in the entertainment biz. And true, in this case too we could maybe note a dress that didn't hang just right or maybe a lyric or two that was a little corny. But there is nothing much more one can say about the film other than one word: perfection.
And The A-List hates musicals, but Dreamgirls is just so well-crafted from the seamless melding of the songs into the script to the direction, to the lighting, cinematography, pace, adaption that we couldn't help but succumb to the film's true magic. Yep folks, we've got a little something here that finally meets the hype, and you know that doesn't take place often. But make no mistake, you might see certain names on the film posters; but the true star of this film is Ms. Jennifer Hudson.
Naturally Eddie Murphy, Beyonce Knowles and Jamie Foxx are true professionals but it's so nice, particularly in this age as we dip and duck into the theatre past the throngs lined up in the middle of Hollywood to see Jay-Z perform in the security-blocked off circus in a sea of Budweiser and Pontiac signage conveniently just under the huge billboard of his girlfriend's film; that a little known human being can outshine even the most previously visible of all this fabricated hype!
Hudson's ease in front of the camera and power vocals are really flabbergasting. And when a theatre full of jaded journalists clap after a performance, you know it's real. The only tragedy would be that Hudson is relegated to a low-budget Black sitcom situation after such a stellar performance. Note to Hollywood: please don't let this happen.
The A-List Rating: One shy of the absolute best! Go see this flick opening day!
Dorien Wilson, his daughter Sarita, and Jasmine Imani posin' at the launch of Imani's new on-line lingerie store, GRAFFITIPINK.COM, at the Glass Garage in West Hollywood. Stacey Dash was also in the house.
SHOUT OUT TO A-LIST FEATURE WRITER ANTHONY DAVIS.