Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Deadline Publishes Mea Culpa After Backlash Over "Ethnic Diversity Castings" Piece  Deadline Publishes Mea Culpa After Backlash Over "Ethnic Diversity Castings" Piece BBC Orders Steve McQueen's "Epic" Drama Series on a Black Community in London, From 1968 to 2014 BBC Orders Steve McQueen's "Epic" Drama Series on a Black Community in London, From 1968 to 2014 It's Official! Trevor Noah Will Indeed Succeed Jon Stewart as Host of 'The Daily Show' It's Official! Trevor Noah Will Indeed Succeed Jon Stewart as Host of 'The Daily Show' Producer of 'The Walking Dead' Says There’s No Conspiracy to Kill Off the Black Male Characters Producer of 'The Walking Dead' Says There’s No Conspiracy to Kill Off the Black Male Characters Tyler Perry Delivers OWN Its Biggest Viewing Audience Ever Tyler Perry Delivers OWN Its Biggest Viewing Audience Ever Roger Moore Says Idris Elba as James Bond is "Unrealistic" Because He's Not "English-English" Roger Moore Says Idris Elba as James Bond is "Unrealistic" Because He's Not "English-English" Dr Dre Hopes the N.W.A. Movie Will Correct Notions of the Group's Treatment of Women + Working on Inspired Album, More Dr Dre Hopes the N.W.A. Movie Will Correct Notions of the Group's Treatment of Women + Working on Inspired Album, More TV Casting Directors React to Deadline's "Ethnic Castings" Article (A Fad That Will Eventually Pass?) TV Casting Directors React to Deadline's "Ethnic Castings" Article (A Fad That Will Eventually Pass?) Taraji P. Henson Will Host 'Saturday Night Live' for the First Time in April (How Many Black Women Have Hosted?) Taraji P. Henson Will Host 'Saturday Night Live' for the First Time in April (How Many Black Women Have Hosted?) For White TV Writers Who Have Considered Racism When *Ethnic* Diversity Is Too Much For White TV Writers Who Have Considered Racism When *Ethnic* Diversity Is Too Much Watch: Kenyan Filmmaker Ng'endo Mukii Tackles 'Globalized' Beauty & African Self-Image in Award-Winning Short Film 'Yellow Fever' Watch: Kenyan Filmmaker Ng'endo Mukii Tackles 'Globalized' Beauty & African Self-Image in Award-Winning Short Film 'Yellow Fever' Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe are a Dysfunctional Mother-Son Pair in Trailer for 'Knucklehead' Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe are a Dysfunctional Mother-Son Pair in Trailer for 'Knucklehead' What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) 73 New TV Pilots & Series with Black Actors in Starring and/or Supporting Roles Ordered for Next Season. Here's the Full List 73 New TV Pilots & Series with Black Actors in Starring and/or Supporting Roles Ordered for Next Season. Here's the Full List HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship HBO Seeks Diverse, Emerging Writers for HBOAccess Writing Fellowship Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' 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...

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