Tag Archives: Lee Daniels

FILM. Jay-Z To Produce Lee Daniels’ Richard Pryor Biopic.

Variety’s Dave McNary reports…

Lee Daniels has committed to directing The Weinstein Company’s Richard Pryor biopic with Jay Z on board to produce.

The Weinstein Company had decided in May to postpone the project, titled “Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said,” after Daniels, the showrunner of Fox’s hit series “Empire,” left the helming gig when he was unable to fit the movie shoot into his schedule. A start date is now set for early 2017.

The movie’s cast had been previously announced as Mike Epps as Pryor, Oprah Winfrey as his grandmother, and Kate Hudson as Pryor’s widow Jennifer Lee Pryor.

The script has been written by Bill Condon. The title of the movie is taken from Pyror’s Grammy-winning live album, released in 1975.

TV. Naomi Campbell Lands Role On Lee Daniels New Fox Series ‘Star’.

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Variety reports, “Supermodel Naomi Campbell has been cast in Lee Daniels’ newest Fox’s musical series, ‘Star.’ Campbell will play Rose Spencer, a beautiful and wealthy Londoner. Campbell has appeared in several other television series, her most recent being Lee Daniels’ other Fox drama, “Empire.”

‘Star,’ which debuts midseason, centers around three young women who form a girl group with hopes of making it big in the music industry. The project has been described in the vein of ‘Dreamgirls,’ while incorporating the manufacturing of modern-day girl groups, showcasing the allure and heartache of the cut-throat music scene, and exploring cultural themes from a new perspective.

Other cast members include Queen LatifahBenjamin Bratt, and newcomers Jude DemorestRyan DestinyBrittany O’Grady, and Amiyah ScottLenny Kravitz will also make a guest appearance on the show.”

TV. ‘WGA East, New York City Agencies Launch Diversity Initiative For TV Writers’

Variety writer Gordon Cox reports…

The Writers Guild of America East has teamed with New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and the department of Small Business Services for the Made in NY Writers Room, a fellowship program that aims to bolster the diversity of the writers in the city’s television writing staffs.

The six-month fellowship, which will accept open submissions starting Sept. 15, will accept 500 applicants for up to 12 writers (working either as individuals or as teams of two) to work one-on-one with New York-based showrunner mentors, including Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”) and Richard LaGravense (“The Divide”), who both attended a launch event for the program Thursday morning. Lee Daniels (“Empire”), Sarah Treem (“The Affair”), Julie Klausner (“Difficult People”), Julie Martin (“Law & Order: SVU”), and Brian Koppelman and David Levien (“Billions”) will also participate as mentors.

Writers will submit a pilot script for an original series, and each winner of the fellowship will work with a mentor to hone the script and establish industry connections. Regardless of whether they win, each applicant (up to the 500 cutoff) will receive written feedback from the two pros who read the script for evaluation.

The program could cost as much as $500,000 depending on the number of submissions, with all the money coming directly from city funding, according to MOME. The initiative’s organizers will work with several city organizations, including Ghetto Film School and New York Women in Film and Television, to reach out to writers whose perspectives are under-represented among TV writers. According to a WGAE study of data up through 2014, only 13% of television scribes were minority writers, while 29% were women.

“There’s two big goals here,” Willimon said at the launch event. “To get more series in production here in New York City, and to diversify the stories that we’re telling.”

The Made in NY Writers Room Program will accept applications via the WGAE website from Sept. 15 until Oct. 20, or until the program reaches its 500-submission cutoff.