Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Why Aren’t We Talking About the Sexual Assault in 'Beyond the Lights'? Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) Page to Screen Possibilities for Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's 'Americanah' (Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo Starring) David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation David Oyelowo Joins Lupita Nyong’o in 'Americanah' Film Adaptation Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Leaked Sony Emails Reveal Interest in Destiny's Child Biopic + Immersive Kanye West Feature Film Experience Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) Weekend B.O. Dec. 12-14 (So How’s That Boycott Working for Ya?) FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover FX Orders Comedy Pilot on Atlanta Hip-Hop Scene From & Starring Donald Glover Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts Chadwick Boseman, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Rosario Dawson, Others Share Kisses in NY Times Shorts What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends What Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal Should Do if She Sincerely Wants to Make Amends Here's the Character John Boyega Plays in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Here's the Character John Boyega Plays in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Watch Zendaya, Kadeem Hardison, Tammy Townsend in Trailer for 'K.C. Undercover' Watch Zendaya, Kadeem Hardison, Tammy Townsend in Trailer for 'K.C. Undercover' Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Ava DuVernay Earns Her Way Into the History Books - First Black Woman Director to Be Nominated for a Golden Globe Award Beyond The Lights, Beyond The Urban Narrative: When Marketing Gets In The Way of Story Beyond The Lights, Beyond The Urban Narrative: When Marketing Gets In The Way of Story Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) Will You Join The Boycott 'Exodus' Movement? (Or You Don't Care) Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film Co-Screenwriter of 'Noah' Explains Why There Are No Black People Or POC In The Film 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) 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) Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake Will Smith Explains Why Willow Smith Dropped Out Of 'Annie' Remake 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...

Interview - Chatting w/ The Cast Of 'Black Nativity' On Adapting Langston Hughes' Celebrated Play

Shadow and Act By Masha Dowell | Shadow and Act November 26, 2013 at 2:53PM

Interview - Chatting w/ The Cast Of 'Black Nativity' On Adapting Langston Hughes' Celebrated Play
0
Black Nativity

The beautiful thing about art is that it can be reworked. In some cases it can even be recreated to serve another purpose for another artist.

In 1961 the late celebrated writer Langston Hughes created his version of the original Nativity story with an all black cast. Fast forward five decades later, and the play is a common holiday staple for many university groups, communities, and churches.  

In Kasi Lemmon’s modern adaptation of Black Nativity; two veteran actors (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett), are grouped with a troupe of others to give us their version of the story.

A few weeks ago, a press junket for the film was held in Los Angeles which I attended. Done in conference fashion, there were no individual one-on-one's with the talent, as they were typically paired up with multiple members of the press at one time, all throwing questions at them. 

Therefore this is more of a summary of the junket roundtable conferences with the cast, than your typical person-to-person interview.

First, here are Angela Bassett and Forest Whitaker:

How they felt about singing in a film?

ANGELA BASSETT: I grew up singing on the church choir, and on the gospel choir in college. But, I never had any solo’s (Laughter).

FOREST WHITAKER: We were lucky. Kasi set it up so we had great singing rehearsals. I sung all of my parts. There were a few songs that were not in the final cut that I sung too.

Highlights of working on this film?

FOREST WHITAKER: Working with her (looks at Angela).

ANGELA BASSETT: Working with him (looks at Forest).

FOREST WHITAKER: It was a great challenge too; it’s a musical.

On Forest Whitaker's first role where he is singing and a pastor. 

ANGELA BASSETT: Every day, and every moment he’s always trying to dig deeper. He wanted to discover more. How to build bridges between characters; He’s always questioning.

FOREST WHITAKER: I studied the scripture as well as this play to prepare for this role. I was fortunate that I was able to rehearse well with the choir as well.

How Angela got into character for the role of first lady?

ANGELA BASSETT: I took a lot from the first lady at my church is very poised and precious. But she is so warm and supportive. She always tries to build up everyone. She’s always so proud of everyone.

On Black Nativity being a film about forgiveness.

ANGELA BASSETT::Well I’ve had to deal with it personally with my family. It’s like you think if I don’t say anything that it will all just work its self on out. Or it will go away. But it doesn’t. The film was able to open up those issues.

Forest Whitaker directed Angela Bassett, the late Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, Loretta Devine and others in Waiting Exhale. Forest briefly discussed a possible remake.

FOREST WHITAKER: It’s difficult to try to see what we will do next with the passing of Whitney. We may find a solution to make it work. I needed to step away from that project to reassess it.

How the two co-stars created chemistry in the really intense scenes.

ANGELA BASSETT: We did spend time together with the singers and dancers (other actors); they were so special and warm. It began to feel like a family; as a church should be. And that what comes across on the screen.

Black Nativity will be seen by many audiences as a faith-based film. Forest shared why he believes those kinds of films are becoming more popular?

FOREST WHITAKER: There is an audience that follows the films. They want an outlet to express their spirituality.

On the next page is a summary of the roundtable with Jennifer Hudson and Jacob Latimore.


Shadow & ActNewsletter