Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

Fox Shelves Kasi Lemmons' 'Black Nativity;' Trouble Casting Black Male Lead (Let's Help Them!)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act September 13, 2012 at 11:48AM

Unfortunate news... I know many of you folks were excited when we first reported this.
26
Samuel L Jackson

Unfortunate news... I know many of you folks were excited when we first reported this.

Fox Searchlight is shelving its planned Kasi Lemmons' musical Black Nativity, just weeks before it was scheduled to begin production in early October.

Why? The project, which initially had Samuel L. Jackson's interest, cannot find an actor to play its male lead. THR says that Jackson, as well as Laurence Fishburne, and several other *name* black actors in that age group, all passed on the project.

Strange, isn't it? The report doesn't say exactly why all of these actors are passing on the role (although it notes that Samuel's asking price may have been too much for the film's reported $10 million budget). It does state that the role needs an actor who can sing, and be believable as the father of Jennifer Hudson (who's already attached to star in the project).

With that list of criteria - old enough, can sing, and be a recognizable *name* actor willing to work within a $10 million budget - the pool of available actors is a very small one. 

This of course speaks to the practically non-cultivation of black actor/stars in Hollywood. But that's a topic we've beaten to death here on S&A.

Angela Bassett is also attached to star in the film as J-Hud's mother (would've been Samuel's wife, had he stayed on the project), which is based on Langston Hughes' Broadway gospel musical.

The project has actually been in the works since 2009, when we first announced it. The story centers on a young black teen from Baltimore, who is sent to Harlem by his mother to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged grandparents. The boy then learns the real meaning of faith and family when his grandfather delivers a Christmas Eve sermon and "a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story."

So the project is shelved indefinitely - unless they can somehow attract the likes of Denzel Washington, or an Eddie Murphy, who are both old enough to play J-Hud's father, are both *name* black actors, although I can't vouch for their singing abilities. And they both would be willing to take pay-cuts.

What other actors can you think of who fit the criteria that the role requests?

This article is related to: Samuel L. Jackson


Shadow & ActNewsletter