Category: Black Cinema

The Young Actors Of ‘When They See Us’ On Becoming The Exonerated Five Of The Central Park Jogger Case

As When They See Us, the limited series on The Central Park Jogger case from Ava DuVernay, bows on Netflix this week, the world will come to learn the true story about what happened that night and how the case impacted the young men that were wrongly accused of the crime. For the young actors who stepped into the shoes of the five, it was a daunting task, but something they were fully prepared for and exceeded at, which is something you’ll realize almost instantly once they appear on the screen.

Shadow And Act sat down with Asante Blackk (Kevin Richardson), Jharrel Jerome (Korey Wise), Ethan Herisse (Yusef Salaam), Caleel Harris (Antron McCray) and Marquis Rodriguez (Raymond Santana) ahead of the series premiere at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

As a New York City native, getting into the role wasn’t that hard for Jerome, who holds the distinction of being the only actor that portrays both the teen and adult versions of his character. The young actor got his start in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and, if all is right in the world, he’s poised for a breakout awards season and a potential Emmy win for When They See Us. “I’m from the Bronx, so I’ve been kind of doing research my whole life in a way — understanding you have to talk polite to the police, understanding that you have to stay away from the park at night, stay out of the streets at night.  It was kind of this subconscious feeling of I kind of understand the intensity and the fear of the project, but it took watching the documentary a couple of times, they gave us transcripts, they gave us the actual documents, I got to watch Korey’s entire confession over and over. Ava opened up this world for us to get us into their minds.” Rodriguez, who has been cast in the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel pilot, agreed and added, “We had so much source material that was unbelievably helpful.”

For Blackk, a series standout as Richardson, he has one thing in particular that he wants viewers unfamiliar with the case to take away. “Humanity, for the most part,” he said. “These guys were painted as everything but human in 1989, painted as a wolfpack, as criminals. And just to take that step back and realize that these guys are human, they have entire lives outside of just this horrible one part of their life. They are real people, they have goals, dreams and aspirations. [I’d want them] to just see that in these men.” 

With this material that hit so close to home, the young men all agreed that the story and content stayed with them long after the cameras were off and filming was over. Harris, who starred in the new Goosebumps film, as well as Hulu’s Castle Rock last year, explained that feeling. “Even still, those scenes..they stay a part of you. They never really leave you. When you truly put yourself in that situation, it’s hard to get out of it. It sticks with you and it just marinates. It really never leaves you. It stays a part of your soul, really,” he said. Herisse added, “After doing the verdict scene, I went back to my room and my dad was with me on set. He could see that I was clearly shaken up, and he was like, ‘It’s OK, the scene’s over,’ and I was like, ‘No, it’s not OK, it’s not over. This is still happening.”

Jerome added, “No matter what, we’re still people of color, so we leave set looking around, almost a little more scared now. That naivety that I had before the project is gone. I’m no longer naive to the brutality of a police officer or justice system. You kind of go around and you want to take this project as a lesson for you.”

“It’s one thing to have empathy for a story, but we were steeping in it for so long…that does something different to you,” Rodriguez said.

When They See Us is now streaming on Netflix.  

John Singleton: Revisit His Storied Career Through Photos

A few weeks ago, it was announced that groundbreaking filmmaker John Singleton had passed away following a stroke that he had earlier this month.

Singleton, the first Black filmmaker and the youngest director to ever be nominated for the Academy Awards’ Best Director trophy, had a storied career, helming films such as Boyz n the Hood, Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Baby Boy and Four Brothers. He also jumpstarted the acting careers of names like Taraji P. Henson, Cuba Gooding Jr., and numerous others.

To honor the acclaimed director, Shadow And Act has gathered select photos from many different phases of his prolific career.

‘When They See Us’: Teaser, First Images Unveiled For Ava DuVernay’s Netflix Limited Series On Central Park Five

Unveiling a name change for the limited series, Netflix has dropped the first teaser for When They See Us, Ava DuVernay’s scripted, four-part project on The Central Park Five. The release coincides with the 30th anniversary of the incident.

In a statement, Netflix says in part: “The media dubbed the men The Central Park Five and they were forever linked to that name.  The new title aims to break them free from that moniker. This is a story told from the perspective of the five men. It is important to everyone involved in the project to give these men an opportunity to tell their story and the series should have a title that represents their story.”

“In 1989, five Black and brown teen boys were wrongly accused of a crime they did not commit and branded The Central Park Five, a moniker that has followed them since that time. In 2019, our series gives the five men a platform to finally raise their voices and tell their full stories. In doing so, Korey, Antron, Raymond, Kevin and Yusef also tell the story of many young people of color unjustly ensnared in the criminal justice system. We wanted to reflect this perspective in our title, embracing the humanity of the men and not their politicized moniker,” says DuVernay.

The official description of the series: Based on a true story that gripped the country, When They See Us will chronicle the notorious case of five teenagers of color, labeled the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. The four-part limited series will focus on the five teenagers from Harlem — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Beginning in the spring of 1989, when the teenagers were first questioned about the incident, the series will span 25 years, highlighting their exoneration in 2002 and the settlement reached with the city of New York in 2014.

Portraying the young versions of the five are Jharrel Jerome, Ethan Herisse, Caleel Harris, Asante Blackk and Marquis Rodriguez.  Jerome will also play the adult version of his character, alongside Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Jovan Adepo and Justin Cunningham as the others.

Felicity Huffman and Vera Farmiga will play members of the prosecution team, while Michael K. Williams, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, Aunjanue Ellis, Kylie Bunbury, Storm Reid and Marsha Stephanie Blake play family members of the accused. Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, Omar J. Dorsey and Adepero Oduye also have roles.

The series was created by Ava DuVernay, who also co-wrote and directed the four parts. Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey from Harpo Films and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions will executive produce the limited series alongside DuVernay through her banner, Forward Movement. DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord and Michael Starrburry also serve as writers on the limited series.

Watch the teaser and check out the images below:

The Chadwick Journals, Chapter Oren 2 Minute Sneak Peek

Coming Spring 2019! Become a Patron NOW and be one of the FIRST to see the all-new season! Patreon.com/andseen Follow us on all social media! IG: @&SEEN Twitter: @andseennetworks Facebook: @andseennetworks In the upcoming season of The Chadwick Journals, Chadwick struggles through his brother’s birthday when the desperate, Oren shows up on his doorstep unannounced. Together, they sift through their pain and gain a deeper understanding of their plights. Starring Damian Toofeek Raven, Matthew Hancock, and Skhy Black.

Blindspotting Official Trailer #1 (2018) Daveed Diggs Drama Movie HD

 

  • Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers and are forced to watch their old neighborhood become a trendy spot in the rapidly gentrifying Bay Area. When a life-altering event causes Collin to miss his mandatory curfew, the two men struggle to maintain their friendship as the changing social landscape exposes their differences. Lifelong friends Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland. Bursting with energy, style and humor, Blindspotting, boldly directed by Carlos López Estrada in his feature film debut, is a provocative hometown love letter that glistens with humanity.
  • West Oakland. Collin Hopkins, a black man who works for the Commander Moving Company as a mover, is a convicted felon on the last three days of his one year parole. Among the many restrictions contained within his parole are living in a halfway house which has its own additional rules, having curfew, not being allowed outside of Alameda County, and no possession of firearms, contravention of any of these items which could extend the length of his parole or worse send him back to prison. Collin, whose felony was largely a matter of unexpected circumstance, wants to do the right thing and lead a straight life. And despite having made it through the first three hundred sixty-two days of his parole, it isn’t a guarantee that he will make it to the end clear, let alone make to the end at all due to the environment in which he lives, which includes people like him of a lower socioeconomic standing having to adjust to the gentrification happening within the community. One of the larger threats is his association with Miles Jones, his married best friend since they were kids and his moving partner. Miles, a Caucasian, feels like he has something to prove being white and living in West Oakland, something that Collin inherently doesn’t have to prove being black. But what could be the biggest threat to Collin is being haunted in witnessing a white police officer shoot a fleeing black man to death in the back late in the evening of the third to last day of his parole, being shot for no reason by the police something that black people like Collin face every day. Through it all, Collin tries to negotiate his relationship with Val, his girlfriend before his incarceration and the dispatcher at Commander, she who is taking more outward steps to improve her life to match that gentrification which may not include associating personally with someone like Collin, especially in light of having seen the aftermath of what sent him to prison.

 

‘Tyrel’: Trailer Released For “Get Out-‘Esque Race Drama Starring Jason Mitchell

After bowing at Sundance and later picked up by Magnolia Pictures, we’ve got the first trailer for Tyrel. 

The film, starring Jason Mitchell, bowed at Sundance this year.

The official description: Tyrel follows Tyler, who joins his friend on a trip to the Catskills for a weekend birthday party with several people he doesn’t know. As soon as they get there, it’s clear that (1) he’s the only black guy, and (2) it’s going to be a weekend of heavy drinking. Although Tyler is welcomed, he can’t help but feel uneasy in “Whitesville.” The combination of all the testosterone and alcohol starts to get out of hand, and Tyler’s precarious situation starts to feel like a nightmare.
The film also stars Christopher Abbott, Michael Cera, Caleb Landry Jones, Michael Zegan, Philip Ettinger, Ann Dowd and  Reg E. Cathey also star.

Watch the trailer below and read our conversation with Mitchell at Sundance earlier this year about the film.