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Exclusive: Trailer, Poster For Award-Winning Drama 'Blues for Willadean' (Octavia Spencer Co-Stars)

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by Tambay A. Obenson
September 7, 2012 11:16 AM
11 Comments
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One of the many feature films on Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer's upcoming slate of films, is an adaptation of Del Shores’ 2003 critically-acclaimed, award-winning play titled The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife, which our theater world readers will likely be familiar with.

The film, which has a different title - Blues for Willadean - stars Beth GrantOctavia SpencerDale Dickey and David SteenThe film premiered at the SHOUT Film Festival as the Closing Night Selection, and won the Best Narrative Audience Award. 

Its full synopsis reads:

From writer/director Del Shores (Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will, Sordid Lives), Blues for Willadean is the screen adaptation of his popular play, Trials and Tribulations of A Trailer Trash Housewife about Willadean (Beth Grant), a woman trying to find her place in life. Her husband (David Steen) is physically and mentally abusive and has banned Willadean from having contact with their homosexual son, which eventually leads Willadean down her path of discovery. Supporting her along the way is her best friend, LaSonia (Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer), her sole confidant and someone who has seen her fair share of the world and knows exactly what Willadean is going through. Blues for Willadean is darkly comic and entertaining drama about a woman’s journey into her own self-discovery, brought to you by the master of Southern culture, Del Shores.

The film was shot last year in Atlanta, GA, on a sub-$1 million budget, with every original member of the stage production reprising their roles in the film, including Octavia Spencer.

It may not be widely-known that she has a theater credit. It's listed as the only stage production she's done.

Shores directed the filmed version from his own adaptation of his play. Although it's worth noting that this is the third Shores play to be made into a feature film; Shores has also served as executive producer and writer on TV shows like Queer As Folk, and as consulting producer and writer on Dharma & Greg.

The play that the film is based on - The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife - was very well-received and reviewed, which bodes well for the film. It won Best Production from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Backstage West Garland Awards, LA Weekly Awards, and even the NAACP Theatre Awards.

Shores won writing awards also from the NAACP, Los Angeles Drama Critics, Backstage West and LA Weekly for his work on the play.

Dale Dickey (Winter’s Bone, My Name Is Earl, Changeling), (Sordid Lives: The Series, Disrupt/Dismantle) and Billboard Top 5 and television recording artist Debby Holiday round out the film's strong starring cast.

There appears to be a heavy African American presence in the cast, including the already mentioned Octavia Spencer and Debby Holiday (playing a blues singer): T. Ashanti Mozelle plays Octavia Spencer's character's "hot husband. They have a real good marriage," is how the character is described; Shalitras Flowers playing a character named "Ranisha;" Roblyn Allicia is "Odessa" and a few others.

Robert L. Rearden, Jr, Del Shores and Emerson Collins are producers of the film, in association with Beth Grant’s Big Leap Productions and Del Shores Productions.

The film will be in theaters and on VOD in October. When we have exact dates, so will you.

Shadow And Act has your exclusive first look at the film's trailer and full poster, both embedded below:

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11 Comments

  • regi | September 11, 2012 12:09 PMReply

    while this trailer doesn't intrigue me in the least, i trust all the other commentators as to the quality of the writer/director's past work, none of which have i ever seen.
    But one thing does give me pause: getting a job at "value village" (or walmart or target, etc.) as a sign of personal emancipation. no doubt, for many people, ANY kind of job can be empowering, but, i fear, the degree to which such jobs (non-union, dead-end, low-paying, few or no benefits, long hours, etc.) can be disempowering, not only to individual workers but to entire communities, will be slighted in favor of the film's more personal emphasis. we'll see.

  • George Nickle | September 10, 2012 12:05 PMReply

    I have been waiting for years for this film. Enjoyed it several times as a play. What a story. what a powerful Del Shores tragicomedy roller coaster of an emotional thrill ride. Hurry -- release it!

  • Gary | September 10, 2012 11:56 AMReply

    I have so been looking forward to seeing another work by Del Shores. Of course with Beth Grant, Octavia Spencer and Dale Dickey. All of them always touch my heart with their performances!!

  • Bill Dorsett | September 10, 2012 11:01 AMReply

    Cant wait for another classic movie from Del Shores. And some long overdue recognition for Del, Beth Grant and Dale Dickey, not to mention Octavia Spencer. Oscars all around!

  • Mark Pepper | September 10, 2012 7:33 AMReply

    I can't wait to see this film!

    Del Shores is an amazing story teller and director. The film looks beautiful. Love ya Del! X

  • Logan | September 10, 2012 12:07 AMReply

    Amazing talent! Had the opportunity to actually see this movie -Fantastic!
    Can't wait for everyone to see it in theaters.

  • Bruce Mayhall Rastrelli | September 9, 2012 11:38 PMReply

    This is a shattering play. Beth Grant is stunning!!! And Octavia Spencer shows her great talent in the bud that blossomed into The Help. Don't miss it. It's moving, important, amazing! And in Del's inimitable style -- it's funny as sin!!!!

  • Trish | September 9, 2012 10:29 PMReply

    This looks like an amazing, touching film, and I can't wait to see it in the theater.
    With Beth Grant starring, it's got to be a hit. She's such a great talent!
    And Octavia Spencer! Wow, what a line-up!
    Del Shores is such a gifted and amazing writer an director, and the cast of this film are fully the cream of the crop. I just know this film is going to be big!!

  • Mark Hammonds | September 9, 2012 10:27 PMReply

    Splendid cast. Can't go wrong with Del Shore's writing. I am very much looking forward to seeing this!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | September 8, 2012 1:10 PMReply

    Looks like a Lifetime movie of the week -- not a bad thing, necessarily. The trailer didn't do a great sell-job, but I like Ms. Spencer and Ms. Grant as well as Ms. Dickey. At first I thought this was a spin-off of "Winter's Bone." lol j/k

  • Greg Harrison | September 8, 2012 3:30 AMReply

    This looks amazing! Is it coming to theaters? I've not heard anything about it till this and I love these women!!

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