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Wood Harris Will Play Malcolm X In 'Betty And Coretta' + 1st Look At Malik Yoba, Angela Bassett

by Tambay A. Obenson
September 24, 2012 11:00 AM
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Recapping what we already know...

Angela BassettRuby DeeMary J. Blige and Malik Yoba are already signed up to star in the Lifetime original movie project previously titled Parallel Lives, but now has the working title, Betty And Coretta.

It's a project we've been tracking for about a year now, and it's finally heading into production.

The film will center on the relationship between Betty Shabazz and Coretta Scott King - specifically, it'll follow how they continue on as single mothers, after their husbands are assassinated - their husbands being Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

As already reported, Mary J. Blige will play Betty Shabazz, and Angela Bassett will play Coretta Scott King.

And Malik Yoba will play Martin Luther King Jr, while, we can now confirm that Wood Harris has signed up to play Malcolm X in the movie.

Ruby Dee will appear on-screen as a "historical witness" to narrate the story, "as someone familiar with the events of both their lives."

Yves Simoneau, who recently directed a Beauty And The Beast TV-movie for ABC Studios, will direct Betty And Coretta, from a script penned by Shem Bitterman (he last wrote and directed a feature dramedy titled The Job in 2009).

The film will be produced by Blige, as well as Larry Stanitsky, with Jaja Johnson and Polly Anthony executive producing.

Production has already begun; no word yet on when it'll air.

Earlier this morning, Malik Yoba posted the below photo on Twitter, with the caption:

1st sneak peek of foto me and Angela Bassett as Corretta and Martin on set w/director.

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  • CareyCarey | September 24, 2012 11:44 PMReply

    Lets consider a few basic facts. I believe it's misguided to compare a lifetime channel production to one that would attract the star power of Thandie Newton and Zoe Saldana. Moving on. Second, although many of use need great acting and believable characters, for the most part, the audience for Lifetime's affairs can care less about that. Like those who enjoy low budget Christian-based movie and the audience for Tyler Perry's melodramas, those who enjoy Lifetime's over-the-top sappy productions simply get involved in the story, not the acting nor the "technical" merits of the production. It's not that type of crowd. Consequently, the hue of the actors is not their concern. And let's be realer than real, who IS NOT GOING TO "SEE" Mary J. Blige and Angela Bassett even though they're playing that parts of Coretta Scott King and Betty Shabazz? Well, I'll tell you who; the Lifetime channel crowd... that's who, because they don't care and they don't over-analyze their viewing pleasure. However, more importantly, don't fool yourself into believing Lifetime is reaching out to black folks. Oh no, white folks pays their bills. Therefore, again, we know white people believe we all look alike, so the color of the actors will be of little interest to them. I am not being facetious. The Lifetime channel viewers are just concerned with the story.... if you know what I mean by that.

  • Jason | September 24, 2012 10:30 PMReply

    First, Wood is a good actor. He deserves great roles. Second, where are all the folks who blasted the casting of Thandie Newton & Zoe Saldan b/c they are light-skinned but not a peep about casting Wood. Malcolm X's autobiography makes it clear that his being mixed-race was a factor in his life. How will Wood look w/ red hair?

  • urbanauteur | September 24, 2012 4:24 PMReply

    This project has playwright:Jeff Stetson written all over it, oh well.

  • Nadell | September 24, 2012 2:53 PMReply

    Does it not matter about physical/facial resemblance anymore in casting? Or has it ever???

  • aswilliams | September 24, 2012 12:47 PMReply

    I mean I do have high hopes for this film until they cast Wood Harris as Malcolm X being that he`s dark skinned and Malcolm was of a much lighter complexion. I could be wrong loook at what Denzel did as Malcolm in the 1992 epic film he did that role with justice. Hopefully Lord willing Wood could do the same as playing someone as charismatic and brilliant as Malcolm was.

  • Helluva | September 24, 2012 6:34 PM

    Wood is an excellent actor...he didn't look much like Jimi Hendrix either but his performance as such was exceptional imo. He'll pull it off and put his own spin on it.

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