Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis + Other Emmy Season Drama Actresses Talk Race, Sexism, Aging in Hollywood Watch: Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis + Other Emmy Season Drama Actresses Talk Race, Sexism, Aging in Hollywood Teaser: Tahir Jetter's Dark Romantic Comedy, 'Occasionally Dating Black Women' Teaser: Tahir Jetter's Dark Romantic Comedy, 'Occasionally Dating Black Women' ‘Straight Outta Compton’ May Be F. Gary Gray's Best. So What’s Your Opening Box Office Prediction? ‘Straight Outta Compton’ May Be F. Gary Gray's Best. So What’s Your Opening Box Office Prediction? Bill Duke Attached to Direct Ensemble Dramedy About a Wealthy, Dysfunctional Black Family Bill Duke Attached to Direct Ensemble Dramedy About a Wealthy, Dysfunctional Black Family 'Jessica Jones' Producers Share Details on How Involved Luke Cage Will Be in the Series 'Jessica Jones' Producers Share Details on How Involved Luke Cage Will Be in the Series Danny Glover's Toussaint L'Ouverture Film That Never Was, But Could Still Be & Other Films on the Haitian Revolutionary Danny Glover's Toussaint L'Ouverture Film That Never Was, But Could Still Be & Other Films on the Haitian Revolutionary HBO Boss Says Issa Rae's Series Casting Now, Slightly Different in Tone from Web Series, Don't Expect Until 2016/2017 HBO Boss Says Issa Rae's Series Casting Now, Slightly Different in Tone from Web Series, Don't Expect Until 2016/2017 Nice! Lupita Nyong’o Will Star in Danai Gurira's Liberia Civil War Drama ''Eclipsed' Nice! Lupita Nyong’o Will Star in Danai Gurira's Liberia Civil War Drama ''Eclipsed' S&A Call for Films That Speak to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement - Cash Award for the Strongest S&A Call for Films That Speak to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement - Cash Award for the Strongest Watch Episode One of Controversial Caribbean-Set TV Series ‘Chee$e’ Watch Episode One of Controversial Caribbean-Set TV Series ‘Chee$e’ John Legend and His Get Lifted Production Company to Executive Produce WGN America's 'Underground' John Legend and His Get Lifted Production Company to Executive Produce WGN America's 'Underground' Nollywood Is a Genre of Nigerian Film & Not the Entire Nigerian Film Industry (Watch Al Jazeera's New Documentary) Nollywood Is a Genre of Nigerian Film & Not the Entire Nigerian Film Industry (Watch Al Jazeera's New Documentary) It Looks Like 'Beasts of No Nation' Will Be THE "Black Film" in Awards Season Contention This Year - With 9 Other Potentials It Looks Like 'Beasts of No Nation' Will Be THE "Black Film" in Awards Season Contention This Year - With 9 Other Potentials Marvel Hopes to Release a New Netflix Series Every 6 Months - Including 'Luke Cage' & 'The Defenders' of Course Marvel Hopes to Release a New Netflix Series Every 6 Months - Including 'Luke Cage' & 'The Defenders' of Course Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer 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 Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding Third 'Best Man' Movie Gets a Title, an Official 2016 Release Date & A Most Unexpected Wedding 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...

Omar Sy To Star As Rafael Padilla In Biopic Of Cuban-Born Slave Turned French Entertainer

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 30, 2013 at 11:57AM

A double-shot of Omar Sy this morning...
1
omar sy cesar

A double-shot of Omar Sy this morning...

Earlier was news that Sy is "in talks" to co-star with Bradley Cooper in a culinary dramedy titled Chef.

I was able to verify, thanks to a comment left by reader Simone yesterday, that Sy has recently become attached to play the lead role in a French-Language film titled Chocolat, which is a biopic of Rafael Padilla - a former Cuban-born slave, who became the first black artist in France during the Belle Epoque era.

Not familiar with Rafael Padilla, I did some research to learn that Rafael captivated the French with his talents as a singer, dancer and clown, working under the stage name of "Chocolat" (hence the title of the film), a term that, because of the roles he played roles, became slang for "ridiculed or abused." When his parents died, the woman charged with looking after him sent him to Europe – "where there are no slaves" – and where Rafael hoped to find his freedom. He did odd jobs in Spain, and eventually arrived in Paris in 1887, at the age of 18, where he was discovered by Footit, a British clown who needed a partner.

Rafael joined the circus, where he was habitually cast in denigrating roles – like king of the monkeys, slave to Cleopatra, King of the jungle, etc.

And it was there that he began to find himself.

He died in Bordeaux on November 4, 1917.

I'm still reading up on Padilla; what I have above is just an intro of what's to come.

The film Chocolat, which will star Omar Sy as Padilla, is set to begin shooting in spring 2014.

When we know more, so will you!

This article is related to: Omar Sy


Shadow & ActNewsletter