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Alex Pettyfer on “I Am Number Four” Sequel

from Screen Rant

Alex Pettyfer Gives Honest Answer About Why I Am Number Four 2 Didn’t Happen

Exclusive: Actor Alex Pettyfer honestly answers why he thinks a sequel to 2011’s I Am Number Four directed by DJ Caruso has never happened.

BY PAUL SHIREY

I Am Number Four featured

Actor Alex Pettyfer gave an honest answer to why he thinks a sequel to 2011’s I Am Number Four has never happened. Pettyfer first made a name for himself by starring in an adaptation of the Alex Rider young adult spy series, Stormbreaker. A few years later, he starred in I Am Number Four before moving on to Magic Mike, which served as a launching pad kind of role for the actor. Pettyfer played John Smith in I Am Number Four, which was directed by DJ Caruso and co-starring Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, and Timothy Olyphant.

While speaking to Screen Rant, Pettyfer said he enjoyed making the movie and was hopeful for a sequel. Still, during the time of release, the slate of Dreamworks films at the box office failed to perform, which essentially wiped the slate clean moving forward with new properties. Here’s what Pettyfer had to say about why no sequel was made and likely won’t be:

“I know. I wish we could have made a sequel to I Am Number Four. I really loved making that movie. You had Steven Spielberg as the producer, you had Michael Bay as a producer, DJ Caruso, but I think they tried something on that movie, and I’m being very honest, where the book, which was written by Pittacus Lore, which was James Frey basically, they tried some really interesting, creative publicity where the film and the book are released at the same time. I think that at the time, Dreamworks had War Horse, they had Hugh Jackman did that robot movie, and there was one other film. And I think just as a collective slate, maybe the movies didn’t perform as well as they should have. And so the slate was kind of wiped clean for Dreamworks to start again with a new slate relationship with funding. I really loved I Am Number Four, and I loved working with DJ, and I loved that concept and that kind of alienation of an outsider, people not accepting you for who you are. I know that movie or that franchise would have gone into a much mature … and the evolution of that would, I definitely know that because DJ was showing me, but we can dream, should we say.”

[ click to read full article at Screen Rant ]

Posted on September 14, 2021 by Editor

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Chainsmokers 3BLACKDOT Emo

from Variety

Chainsmokers Get Behind Scripted Film Set in Emo Music Scene, ‘Every Nite Is Emo Nite’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By Chris Willman

Emo Night feature film

The EDM-pop duo the Chainsmokers is among the backers of a scripted feature film, “Every Nite Is Emo Nite,” that is in development with the goal of placing fictional characters amid the real-life setting of the Emo Nite events that have gained in popularity after beginning on L.A.’s club circuit.

Participating in the development of a screenplay by Brandon Zuck are the Chainsmokers’ production company, Kick the Habit Productions; 3BLACKDOT, which recently announced a three-picture deal for horror films with Eli Roth and rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson; Five All in the Fifth; and Emo Nite’s co-founders.

Although emo is not the Chainsmokers’ signature genre, the members of the duo, Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, said in a joint statement to Variety that “emo music has greatly influenced our lives, taste and the music we make. The community around the music is one of a kind, and we’re excited to showcase Brandon’s amazing story for the world to see.” 

Taggart and Pall’s producer partners in Kick the Habit are Dan Marcus and Adam Alpert. The producers for 3BD are James Frey, Reginald Cash and Mitchell Smith. The Five All in the Fifth producers on the project are Douglas Banker and Alex Garinger.

[ click to read entire article at Variety ]

Posted on June 11, 2021 by Editor

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Alpha Betas Red Head Intervention Map!

Posted on May 7, 2021 by Editor

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ALPHA BETAS Exclusive Clips

from RCR News Media

Check Out Bonus Scenes from ALPHA BETAS, a New Animated Series Featuring Some of YouTube’s Biggest Gaming Personalities #Video

By Davey N

In Alpha Betas, video games are powering the world thanks to a massive, top-secret CIA program. In the comedic style of Rick & Morty meets Westworld, the show follows an elite virtual strike force of four top gamers as they drop into the virtual realms of video games to fix potentially world-ending issues. Known as the Alpha Team, these four willfully reckless and dangerously arrogant guys are the tip of a five-hundred billion dollar US Government spear sent to be heroes in high-octane pixelated worlds.

Here’s a few new scenes to get what Alpha Betas is all about:

[ click to continue viewing at RCR ]

Posted on March 9, 2021 by Editor

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ALPHA BETAS otw

from BubbleBlabber

Alpha Betas: A New Mission Takes Hold In The Go Home Clip

by John Schwarz

The final clip for Alpha Betas is here in anticipation of the comedy pilot which premieres on March 13th.

The half-hour comedy stars leading gaming influencers VanossGaming, BasicallyIDoWrk, I AM WILDCAT and Terroriser, and the project marks the first long-scripted television series from the group, who bring a collective audience of over 40 million fans across social media.

In #AlphaBetas​, video games are powering the world thanks to a massive, top-secret CIA program. The show follows an elite virtual strike force of four top gamers as they drop into the virtual realms of video games to fix potentially world-ending issues. Known as the Alpha Team, these four willfully reckless and dangerously arrogant guys are the tip of a five-hundred billion dollar US Government spear sent to be heroes in high-octane pixelated worlds.

[ click to continue reading at BubbleBlabber ]

Posted on March 8, 2021 by Editor

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Fiddy Roth Frey

from Deadline

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Partners With Eli Roth, 3BlackDot For Three-Pic Deal

By Greg Evans

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Eli Roth / Mega

Producer and recording artist Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is partnering with Eli Roth and entertainment studio 3BlackDot for a three-picture feature film deal. The deal expands Power player Jackson’s G-Unit Film & Television in the horror film space.

Jackson’s G-Unit will team with the Arts District Entertainment, Roth’s banner with Roger Birnbaum and Michael Besman. The deal, according to G-Unit and 3-BlackDot, involves an “8-figure investment in 50 Cent and G-Unit Film & Television from 3BlackDot.” The latter will act as financier and studio across all the films.

The three entities will collaborate on each film, while utilizing 3Blackdot’s in-house resources in gaming, publishing, and merchandise to build out entertainment properties. A statement announcing the deal says the film IP will be leveraged using Jackson, Roth and 3Blackdot “to platform into a 360-degree experience across video games, publishing and merchandise.”

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on November 12, 2020 by Editor

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3BlackDot @ NewsFronts

from AdWeek

3BlackDot Announces 2 New Shows at NewFronts Debut

The production studio behind the film Queen & Slim also specializes in connecting brands with gaming influencers

By Scott Nover

The 3BlackDot
3BlackDot teased advertisers during today’s NewFront presentation.

Gaming took center stage at the 2020 Digital Content NewFronts today.

The entertainment studio claims to do a little bit of everything: producing feature films like the 2019 crime drama Queen & Slim, web series featuring YouTube stars and selling merchandise. And through brand and product integrations, they want to connect advertisers to their “hard-to-reach” audience.

At NewFronts, the company announced two new original series: Alpha Betas, an animated show in partnership with Starburns Industries, which produced the first two seasons of Cartoon Network’s Rick and Morty; and Party Chat, a scripted comedy, they described as the gaming analogue to the FX fantasy football-focused series The League. 

Naturally, both series feature influencers in the gaming space—3BlackDot’s niche. 

The company also bragged about its vertical integration.

“We own the ecosystem,” Dana Pirkle, vp, talent at 3BlackDot, said in the presentation. “We craft the content, we own the distribution and we deliver the monetization—all of it managed, directed and executed from within our network at a global scale.”

[ click to continue reading at AdWeek ]

Posted on July 5, 2020 by Editor

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‘Alpha Betas’ from 3BLACKDOT

from Animation Magazine

Starburns, 3BLACKDOT Team for ‘Alpha Betas’ Starring Top Gamefluencers

By Mercedes Milligan

Starburns Industries

3BLACKDOT (3BD), the leading entertainment studio that sits at the intersection of gaming and culture, announced Friday it is developing a new animated comedy series, Alpha Betas, in partnership with the award-winning animation studio Starburns Industries (Rick and MortyAnomalisa). The half-hour comedy is the first long-scripted television series from the group, who bring a collective audience of over 40 million fans across social media.

Alpha Betas stars leading gaming influencers VanossGaming, BasicallyIDoWrk, I AM WILDCAT and Terroriser. The supporting cast also includes Chris Parnell (Rick and Morty, Saturday Night Live), Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds), Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time), Brent Morin (Undateable, Merry Happy Whatever) and more.

Creators Chris Bruno & David Howard Lee (Facebook Watch’s Human Discoveries) will serve as showrunners and executive producers, and Starburns Industries will animate. Regi Cash, James Frey, Zennen Clifton and Mitchell Smith of 3BLACKDOT, along with Starburns’ Casey Rup, James Fino, Simon Ore and Paige Dowling, will also serve as executive producers on the project. 

The pilot episode will debut in early 2021.

[ click to continue reading at Animation Magazine ]

Posted on June 28, 2020 by Editor

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MisBits Hits

from DualShockers

MisBits Rolls Onto Steam Early Access

MisBits, the multiplayer game that has players finding and swapping bodies for your head, arrives on Steam Early Access.

MisBits comes to Steam Early Access this week. The colorful, frantic, and fun multiplayer game from 3BlackDot is a quick-paced adventure where you mismatch toy heads with different, changeable bodies which results in an ever-changing play style. MisBits is currently only available on Steam Early Access and retails for $14.99, with the full game launching on PC this summer.

Roll, switch, and control your toy head through the game’s maps to find or steal different bodies. Each mismatch provides unique abilities that directly changes the way you play. MisBit’s maps contain various items to acquire such as weapons and hazards like traps to avoid. The game includes a variety of modes. In the future, new bodies, heads, skins and modes will be added. One of the new modes will be ToyBox, which is a Dreams-light creation experience that allows players to build new mini-games or alter maps and modes with their own rules.

MisBits multi-player mini-games range from 2 to 6 players depending on the map or mode. The exploration areas and the building tools can be played solo. The game was featured at PAX East and was a finalist for DreamHack Anaheim’s Indie Rumble.

Here’s a rundown of all the game modes included with MisBits from the official press release…

[ click to continue reading at DualShockers ]

Posted on March 20, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM Hits Oz

from ABC Australia

Queen and Slim recasts a ripped-from-the-headlines scenario of police violence as a get-away road movie

By Keva York

A black and white image from the movie Queen and Slim with Daniel Kaluuya & Jodie Turner-Smith posing on a car
PHOTO: Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe (Master of None) got the idea for Queen and Slim from a conversation she had with author James Frey at a party. (Supplied: Universal)

The debut feature from Melina Matsoukas, who cut her teeth directing notably fierce music videos for the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna, is not shy about aspiring to be counted amongst the canon of blistering, politically-charged road movies.

“Well, if it isn’t the black Bonnie and Clyde,” a pimp outfitted in yellow Gucci greets Queen & Slim’s eponymous couple — played by Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and British model-turned-actor Jodie Turner-Smith (Jett) — when they turn up on the doorstep of his ramshackle New Orleans whorehouse, looking to be sheltered, if only briefly, from the law on their trail.

While it’s true that Matsoukas offers up a string of characteristically colourful, sultry, and pointed set pieces — a style best exemplified by her video for Beyonce’s black feminist banger Formation — the film is hampered by a paucity of both internal logic and depth, which reduces the impact of a would-be empowering message about African-American pride in the face of police brutality.

[ click to continue reading at ABC Australia ]

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM Doing The Right Thing

from The Sydney Morning Herald

‘The problem still exists’: Queen and Slim a modern-day call to arms

By Richard Jinman

Screenwriter Lena Waithe (left) and director Melina Matsoukas on the set of Queen and Slim.
Screenwriter Lena Waithe (left) and director Melina Matsoukas on the set of Queen and Slim.

It is 30 years since Spike Lee’s incendiary third movie Do The Right Thing shone a harsh light on the killing of black Americans by police. Radio Raheem, who is choked to death in the film’s climatic scene, was a fictional character, but his violent death at the hands of baton-wielding cops felt very real in a country where African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.

Little has changed in the three decades since Lee released his call to arms, says Lena Waithe, the writer and producer of Queen and Slim, a provocative new film about two black Americans who go on the run after killing a white police officer in self-defence. She regards Do The Right Thing as a landmark movie and says the issues it highlighted in 1989 are far from resolved. “We can’t deny that we are still dealing with these things,” says the 35-year-old, who is best known as one of the stars of the Netflix comedy-drama Master of None. “The fact that law enforcement is not necessarily on our side and we feel like we are being hunted is both scary and sad. Black people are still making movies about this problem because the problem still exists.”

Melina Matsoukas, the director of Queen and Slim, nods in agreement. “It’s modern-day lynching,” she says quietly. “As a black person, seeing your family, your community being murdered on a daily basis has an emotional impact. It’s like PTSD. It could be your mother, your sister, your father, your aunt, your husband or your wife. Seeing these people that you don’t know, but have a kinship with, [being killed] on the nightly news, creates an emotional stress.”

The frequency with which black people are killed by police and the apparent impunity the US judicial system grants officers who kill in the line of duty, led to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. But the bloodshed continues. In 2015 a record number of young black men – 1134 in total – were killed by law enforcement officers.

[ click to continue reading at SMH ]

Posted on March 16, 2020 by Editor

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Here Comes “Clownpocalypse”

from DEADLINE

Eli Roth & 3BlackDot Developing Horror Franchise ‘Clownpocalypse’

By Anthony D’Alessandro

Rex/Shutterstock

EXCLUSIVE: 3BlackDot and Eli Roth are working on the 360-degree horror project Clownpocalypse which will encompass a feature film, video game, live event, short-form series, and merchandise. 3BlackDot will finance.Roth and James Frey have been plotting the project for some time and Philip Gelatt (Netflix’s Love Death + Robots) will write the screenplay, with storyline under wraps. A search for a director is under way with production to begin later this year. Producers on the film are Roth, and from 3BlackDot, James Frey (Queen & Slim) and 3BlackDot President Reginald Cash, Mitchell Smith (Beats) and Zennen Clifton (WTF Baron Davis).Said Roth, “I’ve had an amazing time collaborating with James Frey and the incredible team at 3BlackDot. From concept to art to the game play, every step of the way, no idea has been too crazy, and they’ve executed it at the highest level. For years I’ve had people tell me ‘You can’t do that in a game, it’s too insane’ and I finally found partners who said, ‘Let’s take this a step further.’ It feels like we’re making a game, movie and live experience with no parental supervision or studio to tell us to tone it down, and that’s the only way to create something spectacular and memorable. This will be a big, fun, scary event for gamers, movie fans, and people who love live events. The Clownpocalypse is coming. Get ready.”

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on March 9, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM’s Daniel Kaluuya on car sex

from Marie Claire

QUEEN & SLIM INTERVIEW: Daniel Kaluuya on car sex, difficult scenes and his chemistry with Jodie Turner-Smith

by SOPHIE GODDARD

Daniel Kaluuya
Getty Images

Queen & Slim star Daniel Kaluuya tells Sophie Goddard why filming one of 2020’s most impactful films left him dazed and confused…

Daniel Kaluuya should be used to starring in huge blockbusters by now (he’s already got WidowsBlack Panther and Get Out under his belt) but his latest project, Queen & Slim has left him somewhat unsteady. The film – directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe – sees the Oscar-nominated star appear alongside Jodie Turner-Smith in a love story that’s earned comparisons to Bonnie & Clyde (more on that shortly). “It’s very surreal,” he says, when asked how the unanimous praise feels. “It starts off being your secret, but then everyone else is watching it.” Here, he talks us through the filming process, and why he’s still unsure what he makes of it all.

[ click to continue reading at Marie Claire ]

Posted on February 8, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM – Love on the run

from The Guardian

Queen & Slim review – love on the run across the US racial divide

by Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore in Queen and Slim.
Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore in Queen & Slim. Photograph: Universal Pictures/AP

This arresting debut feature from Melina Matsoukas – Grammy-award winning director of Beyoncé’s Formation video, whose television CV includes Master of None and Insecure – puts new twists on familiar outlaw riffs that can be traced back through Badlands and Bonnie and Clyde to À bout de souffle and beyond. Boasting outstandingly empathic performances from dynamite screen presence Daniel Kaluuya (Oscar-nominated for Get Out) and rising star Jodie Turner-Smith, in a career-making first feature lead, it’s an intoxicatingly lawless lovers-on-the-run romance played out against the politically charged backdrop of racially divided modern America.

Shot in a dreamy natural light by Tat Radcliffe, who did such remarkable work on French-Algerian director Yann Demange’s Belfast-set ’71, and sensuously scored by Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange), Queen & Slimimmerses its audience in an unfolding road-movie fable. While Lena Waithe’s script (on which author/producer James Frey shares a story credit) may veer occasionally into narrative contrivance, there’s an emotional honesty to the central love story that rings true despite the odd note of implausibility – a sense of powerful, magical potential that burns out any first-feature flaws.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on February 6, 2020 by Editor

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Lil Baby Drops “Catch The Sun” for QUEEN & SLIM

Posted on February 5, 2020 by Editor

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Clownpocalypse

from New York Magazine

Eli Roth Excitedly Ushers in the Clownpocalypse Franchise

By Halle Kiefer

Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Universal Studios Hollywood

Horror director and producer Eli Rothhas had it up to here with your zombie-apocalypse movies, and your evil-clown flicks are mere child’s play. Therefore, he’s taking it upon himself to usher in the next stage of horror evolution with (what else?) Clownpocalypse. According to Deadline, the House With a Clock in Its Walls director is collaborating with 3BlackDot on a multi-platform “360-degree horror project,” which will include a movie, video game, and short-form series in addition to a live event. There will also, of course, be merchandise.

[ click to continue at New York Magazine ]

Posted on January 27, 2020 by Editor

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The Black Financiers Behind QUEEN & SLIM

from ESSENCE

Did You Know There Were Two Black Financiers Behind ‘Queen & Slim?’

WHEN WRITER LENA WAITHE AND DIRECTOR MELINA MATSOUKAS SAID THE FILM WAS “FOR US, BY US,” THEY MEAN IT.

BY DANIELLE YOUNG

Angelo Pullen and Reginald Cash

The brilliance that is Queen & Slim has been described as a “for us, by us” film, with Black women Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe at the helm.

The Black excellence was apparent with Waithe telling ESSENCE that she and Matsoukas, who made her directorial debut with the feature film, didn’t use any feedback about their film from anyone at the studio who wasn’t Black.

The “Black out” around Queen & Slim didn’t stop there. In fact, while we were at the AFI Fest premiere last month, we met the CEO and President of entertainment studio 3BlackDot, Angelo Pullen and Reginald Cash. These two Black men are among the financiers behind the film.

[ click to continue reading at ESSENCE ]

Posted on December 25, 2019 by Editor

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Straight from Lena on QUEEN & SLIM

from the LA Times

Why Lena Waithe fell in love with her leads while writing ‘Queen & Slim’

By LENA WAITHE

“Queen & Slim” screenwriter Lena Waithe
Lena Waithe took the idea for “Queen & Slim” and made it her own. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“Queen & Slim” began at a party, celebrating my wife Alana Mayo. She had just been chosen as one of the Hollywood Reporter’s 35 under 35 execs. I was there gallivanting and having a good time when writer James Frey walked up to me and introduced himself. 

It was kind of funny, because I knew who he was, but I joined in the formalities anyway and introduced myself as well. I think he was aware I was a writer — but at that time “The Chi” hadn’t aired yet (we were still writing the first season) and the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None” was an idea that had not yet entered my mind. I say all this to say: He had no real reason to throw an idea — an idea that would ultimately change the course of my life — into my lap at a rooftop party in Hollywood.

He simply said, “I have an idea for a movie I can’t write.” I responded, “What’s the idea?” And he said, very cavalierly, a black man and a black woman go out on a first date and on their way home they get pulled over by a cop, things escalate quickly and they kill the cop in self-defense and rather than turning themselves in, they decide to get in the car and go.” 

I quickly said to him, “You’re right, you can’t write that.” But I knew I could.

He had another title and an outline in his back pocket, but I didn’t want it. I didn’t need it. That sentence was all I needed to go create a black odyssey that would ultimately become a meditation on blackness and what it truly looks like to search for freedom and joy that’s everlasting.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on December 20, 2019 by Editor

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NEWSWEEK – The Taylor-Johnson’s on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES

from NEWSWEEK

AARON AND SAM TAYLOR-JOHNSON TALK ‘A MILLION LITTLE PIECES,’ COLLABORATING AND ADDICTION

BY H. ALAN SCOTT

Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson attend the Build Series to discuss ‘A Million Little Pieces’ at Build Studio December 02, 2019 in New York City. DOMINIK BINDL/GETTY IMAGES

James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces could arguably be considered one of the most controversial books published in recent history.

The controversy surrounding its semi-fictional memoir-style made it one of the internet’s first viral scandals of the publishing world. But beyond the controversy—and the infamous interview Frey did with Oprah Winfrey in 2005—is a story about a person struggling with addiction and desperately trying to find a way out of it. That’s the story director Sam Taylor-Johnson told in her new film adaption of the memoir, starring and co-written by her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

“I read it and loved it and went on the journey with James,” Sam told Newsweek Conversations. “I continued on the journey with James through what happened with the book and the controversy, public shaming and humiliation.”

Loosely based on Frey’s own journey, Aaron dived into the character by working closely with Frey, communicating regularly, going on a road trip together and even visiting the rehabilitation center where Frey first sought treatment.

“It was really overwhelming for him to step through those doors again,” Aaron told Newsweek Conversations. “He said he hadn’t been back in over 20 years. I guess the rawness of it is he was an addict and now, today, he’s 26 years sober. It’s phenomenal.”

[ click to continue reading at NEWSWEEK ]

Posted on December 19, 2019 by Editor

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PEOPLE Magazine: The Taylor-Johnson’s on A MILLION LITTLE PIECES

from PEOPLE Magazine

Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson on the Intense Journey of Making an Addiction Movie Together

A Million Little Pieces is playing in select theaters now

By  Nigel Smith

Aaron, 29, and Sam Taylor-Johnson, 52, are no strangers to working together, having met making Sam’s directorial debut Nowhere Boy in 2009 — but adapting James Frey’s controversial 2003 book A Million Little Piecesmarked challenging new territory for the married couple.

The film adaptation of Frey’s addiction memoir, which he later admitted to partly fabricating, sees Aaron go to some very dark places to play a young drug-addled writer as he undergoes a grueling two-month detox program.

Below are excepts from PEOPLE’s conversation with the pair, who wed in 2012 and have two daughters together now, in addition to two from Sam’s previous marriage.

[ click to continue reading at PEOPLE ]

Posted on December 18, 2019 by Editor

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The Taylor-Johnson’s by James Frey

from Harper’s BAZAAR

Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson Are One of the Most Private Couples in Hollywood—and They Intend to Keep It That Way

BY JAMES FREY; PHOTOGRAPHS BY MICHAEL AVEDON

sam taylor johnson aaron taylor johnson
Hang time. On Sam: Dolce & Gabbana bra and briefs.
On Aaron: Lululemon shorts.

Between lingering kisses and adoring sidelong glances, artist turned filmmaker Sam Taylor-Johnson and her dashing actor husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, open up to friend James Frey (whose book A Million Little Pieces they have adapted for the big screen) about the coup de foudre they experienced when they first met—and how they keep that spark burning bright more than a decade later.

She was a world-renowned artist, her work hanging in museums around the world, selling for outrageous sums in galleries and at auction, the mother of two young daughters living in London and spending weekends in France or the English countryside. She had also survived cancer twice. She was healthy, brilliant, beautiful, and successful beyond her wildest dreams. She was about to direct her first feature film. Her life was full. Or so she thought. 

“I wasn’t expecting anything that day. Just to see a bunch of actors pretending to be John Lennon.” He was an actor, working since he was six. He’d been onstage, in films, on television, successful enough to get by, but the breakthrough hadn’t come. He’d been preparing for this audition for six weeks. If he got the role, it would change his life. 

“I remember it very, very clearly. I know exactly what she was wearing. This white shirt that she still has, that I love. It definitely changed my life, though not in the way I expected.” 

“We were very professional through the entire film.”

“No funny business at all.”

“But everyone on set knew. And as soon as we finished, he told me he was going to marry me. We had never been on a date, or even kissed.”

“And a year to the minute after we met, exactly one year to the minute, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.”

“In the 10 years we’ve been together, we’ve only been apart for maybe two or three days.”

“And those were the worst days of those 10 years.”

[ click to continue reading at Harper’s BAZAAR ]

Posted on December 17, 2019 by Editor

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The Chicago Crusader on QUEEN & SLIM

from The Chicago Crusader

Black Lives Matter themes on full blast in ‘Queen & Slim’

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J.

“Queen & Slim” is a story about a Black couple on the run who find themselves in an untenable position shortly after their first date. They are driving along and Slim had briefly passed his cell phone to Queen. She starts being nosey, as some women are wont to do, and he snatches the phone, causing the car to swerve a bit.

And, of course, seconds later, a Cleveland, Ohio, police officer stops the car. The cop’s initial reason for stopping Slim was no signal at a previous turn and that he suspected that Slim was under the influence. The “no turn signal” excuse made me think immediately of the late Sandra Bland, the Naperville, Illinois, woman who met her death at the hands of Texas police officers after a similar traffic stop—although they claimed that Bland committed suicide. An argument ensues, and Queen, who is a criminal defense attorney, questions the officer after he trains his gun on Slim. The officer shoots Queen in the leg, and Slim kills the officer, setting in motion their run from authorities.

[ click to continue reading at The Chicago Crusader ]

Posted on December 15, 2019 by Editor

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Sam & Aaron Taylor-Johnson Fight

from TIME Magazine

Why Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson Fought to Get A Million Little Pieces in Front of Audiences

BY SAM LANSKY

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson attend the Build Series to discuss 'A Million Little Pieces' on December 02, 2019 in New York City.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Sam Taylor-Johnson attend the Build Series to discuss ‘A Million Little Pieces’ on December 02, 2019 in New York City. Getty Images—2019 Dominik Bindl

“Do what you want with it.” That was more or less what James Frey told the director Sam Taylor-Johnson when she and her husband, the Golden Globe-winning actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, approached him about bringing Frey’s 2003 book A Million Little Pieces to the screen. “I’m not going to be there,” Sam remembers Frey saying. “I’m not going to read your script. I may not ever see the movie. But if you respond to the material and you like it, do it!”

For Sam, director of Nowhere Boy and Fifty Shades of Grey, adapting Frey’s bestseller about his struggle to get clean from drugs and alcohol in a Minnesota rehab was a longtime dream. It also ended up proving a challenge: “Every step of the way with this movie has been pushing a boulder up a hill,” she says now. 

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on December 12, 2019 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM – More Than Outlaws

from The Morganton News-Herald

‘Queen & Slim’ is more than an “outlaws on the run” story

by Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

PHOTO CREDIT: Andre D. Wagner

“Queen & Slim” is a movie we’ve seen before, whether in the form of “Bonnie and Clyde” or “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Two attractive outlaws on the lam, running from the clutches of the law, their banter, adventures and funny or violent or romantic encounters punctuating an epic and ultimately fatalistic journey.

“Thelma & Louise” is part of that tradition and, much as sexism motivated and contextualized the events of that outlaw picaresque, racism provides the crucial frame for “Queen & Slim.” The movie begins with a young couple in a diner, in the middle of an awkward first date: When the young man (Daniel Kaluuya) asks his female companion, an attorney played by newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith, why she finally responded to him online, she explains that one of her clients was just scheduled for execution and she was seeking a distraction. “So you turned to Tinder,” he says joshingly.

The characters are unnamed throughout most of the movie, but when a pivotal confrontation on their way home sends them on a desperate escape from Cleveland through the American South and finally to Florida, their identities go through all manner of changes.

[ click to continue reading at The News-Herald ]

Posted on December 11, 2019 by Editor

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Lena Waithe Rising

from The Washington Blade

Rising queer star Lena Waithe drops trailer for new series

Lena Waithe (Image via Facebook)

Lena Waithe, the out lesbian woman of color who has been among those at the forefront in the struggle to bring more visibility and representation to the entertainment industry, is on a roll as 2019 comes to a close.

On the heels of an impressive opening weekend for her debut feature film, “Queen and Slim,” the Emmy-winner dropped the trailer for her upcoming television project on BET. Titled “Twenties,” it’s the first series in the network’s history to be centered on an LGBTQ character.

“Queen and Slim,” the rising industry powerhouse’s first feature film screenplay (from a story she co-wrote with James Frey), surpassed industry expectations by making the top five box-office list for Thanksgiving weekend.

[ click to read full article at The Washington Blade ]

Posted on December 8, 2019 by Editor

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A MILLION LITTLE PIECES “Stellar”

from The Boston Herald

“A Million Little Pieces” stellar tale of addiction, redemption

By STEPHEN SCHAEFER

There is something both shocking and weirdly gallant to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson as James Frey completely unhinged and out of his skull — and clothes — as “A Million Little Pieces” opens.

The brief sequence immediately establishes the mindset of a self-destructive druggie and Taylor-Johnson’s willingness to go wherever to tell a familiar story of rehab and redemption.

Co-written by real-life couple director Sam Taylor-Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) and Aaron, “Pieces” is an adaptation of Frey’s once notorious but still in print bestselling memoir from 2003.

The memoir was notoriously targeted by Oprah Winfrey for exaggeration and embellishing, which today seems quaint and completely out of proportion for the lies told daily in the national conversation.

What the Taylor-Johnsons have done is smoothly engrossing with a first-rate cast.

[ click to continue reading at The Boston Herald ]

Posted on December 7, 2019 by Editor

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A MILLION LITTLE PIECES Premiere

from Instagram

[ click to view on Instagram ]

Posted on December 6, 2019 by Editor

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A MILLION LITTLE PIECES “An effective blunt instrument of a film”

from The Chicago Sun-Times

‘A Million Little Pieces’ works on film, and that’s the honest truth

Aaron Taylor-Johnson does harrowing work as author James Frey in the throes of addiction and rehab.

By Richard Roeper

Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays James Frey at his addictive low point in “A Million Little Pieces.”
 Momentum Pictures

“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” – Mark Twain, quoted in “A Million Little Pieces.”

You had to feel for James Frey.

In January 2006, the School of the Art Institute grad turned best-selling author took arguably the most brutal verbal beatdown in the history of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Granted, Frey brought it upon himself, when it was revealed his mega-successful addiction memoir “A Million Little Pieces” contained major exaggerations and fabrications.

Oprah, who initially had championed the book, was not amused. She called Frey on the carpet in front of a studio audience and millions of viewers. 

It seemed excessive. It was painful to watch.

A few years later, Oprah said she owed Frey an apology. By then, Frey had bounced back in a big way, with a seven-figure deal to write novels for Harper Collins. Since then, his career has continued to thrive, most recently with a “Story By” credit for the acclaimed theatrical release “Queen & Slim.”

Now, some 16 years after the publication of “A Million Little Pieces,” a film adaptation from director/co-writer Sam Taylor-Johnson (“Fifty Shades of Grey,” no relation) is getting an understated release, and it’s reasonable to assume a good percentage of viewers will have little or no knowledge of the controversial story behind the source material.

Not that it should matter. As a stand-alone work of cinema fiction, “A Million Little Pieces” is an effective blunt instrument of a film — a rough-edged, unvarnished, painfully accurate portrayal of addiction and rehabilitation.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun-Times ]

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Editor

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Sam & Aaron Taylor-Johnson on James Frey

from USA Today

Q&A: Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson on why it’s OK to forgive James Frey

by Andrea Mandell

Sam Taylor-Johnson directs her husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a scene from
A MILLION LITTLE PIECES / Photo by Jeff Gros

Sam Taylor-Johnson knows willpower. Four years ago, it powered an iron stomach through the contentious making of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Now, it’s propelling her James Frey movie into theaters. 

On Friday, the director’s new film, “A Million Little Pieces,” arrives in theaters, starring her husband, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 29, as the recovering alcoholic who found himself at the center of one of the biggest memoir publishing scandals in modern history.

[ click to continue reading at USA Today ]

Posted on December 4, 2019 by Editor

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The Contenders: Melina Matsoukas

from DEADLINE

‘Queen & Slim’ Director Melina Matsoukas On Showing “Black People As Victors And Not Victims” – The Contenders L.A. Video

By Amanda N’Duka

Grammy-winning music video director Melina Matsoukas is known for using her work not only to highlight African -American culture but also reflect pertinent issues in the community. That’s what made Queen & Slim the apt project for her feature directorial debut.

“The script for me was everything,” Matsoukas said at Deadline’s Contenders Los Angeles event. “It was political. It was saying something. It was illuminating issues in the black community with police brutality and so many of our struggles. But mostly because it was this beautiful love story as well. It really staddles the line between all kinds of genres. … We get to enjoy this beautiful journey between two black people.”

[ click to view and continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on December 3, 2019 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM – “For me, this is a battle cry.”

from BET

Lena Waithe Explains Police Brutality Focus In ‘Queen & Slim’

“For me, this is a battle cry.”

Written by Alexis Reese

With one of the most anticipated Black films of 2019, Queen & Slim, to be released before the start of the new year, producer and writer Lena Waithe is spinning the traditional police brutality narrative.

Sitting down with BET Digital, Waithe speaks to the importance of the film, her vision behind the screenplay, the current state of America’s police force and more.

The drama follows two strangers, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya), who find themselves responsible for the death of a police officer after going on a first date. Waithe transformed a small anecdote she got from her co-writer James Frey into a fully formed narrativethen brought on Melina Matsoukas as director. With police brutality at an all-time high, the need for the film was urgent if not crucial. “I think for Black people, police have never represented to us an organization that protects or serves us. We almost feel more oppressed by the police. That is something that is an issue and is a problem in our society, because we are citizens just like anyone else. But we feel policed, you can’t live freely in that way,” Waithe says.

[ click to continue reading at BET ]

Posted on December 2, 2019 by Editor

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Costuming QUEEN & SLIM

from Vanity Fair

Queen & Slim: How Black Panthers, Diahann Carroll Inspired the Film’s Designer Costumes

Costume designer Shiona L. Turini walks us through the film’s sleek sartorial choices, from Slim’s custom red tracksuit to Queen’s Brother Vellies boots.

BY YOHANA DESTA

This image may contain Hair Human Person Clothing and Apparel
(L-R) Director Melina Matsoukas, Indya Moore and
costume designer Shiona Turini on the set of Queen & Slim.
BY LELANIE FOSTER/UNIVERSAL.

In Queen & Slim, the sweeping road movie thriller directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, the costumes are culled from a world of rich cultural sources. The revolutionary Black Panthers, blaxploitation movies, and Diahann Carroll were all used as reference points by designers like Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, Dapper Dan,and Aurora James of Brother Vellies, all of whom contributed looks to the film about a young black couple (Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith) who go on the run after killing a racist, jumpy police officer. The end result is a film that is equal parts thought-provoking and impossibly stylish, a sartorial vision funneled through the eye of one specific person: costume designer Shiona L. Turini.

Queen & Slim is a first feature for many involved: It’s Matsoukas’s debut as a feature director (she rose to fame after helming sleek music videos for the likes of Beyoncé and Snoop Dogg); it’s Waithe’s first feature screenplay; it’s Turner-Smith’s first time carrying a film. It’s also Turini’s first time costuming a movie. The designer, a former editorial stylist and director who worked at magazines like Cosmopolitan and W, first turned to the screen after a chance meeting with Matsoukas.

“We met on a camping trip in Joshua Tree for one New Year’s Eve and we really just hit it off,” Turini tells Vanity Fair. “We work very similarly, we’re the same age. It was a very instant connection.”

By that point, Matsoukas was already an established music video director (she first worked with Beyoncé in 2007), but Turini had no clue about her friend’s status in the industry. She only realized later when she was making a professional website and asked to see Matsoukas’s site; the director didn’t have one, but pointed her in the direction of her management team, who had catalogued her work thus far.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on December 1, 2019 by Editor

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Daniel Kaluuya On QUEEN & SLIM

from The LA Times

Why Daniel Kaluuya fought for ‘Queen & Slim’: ‘I like things that are misbehaved’

By SONAIYA KELLEY

Actor Daniel Kaluuya of “Queen & Slim.”
Actor Daniel Kaluuya has gone from success to success.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Daniel Kaluuya is used to getting people talking. 

After appearing in the first season of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian anthology series “Black Mirror,” the British actor went on to deliver a breakout performance in Jordan Peele’s genre-redefining psychological horror film “Get Out,” for which he was nominated for an Oscar

In the two years since, he’s had memorable turns in Marvel’s megahit “Black Panther” and Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed “Widows” before once again taking the lead in the Thanksgiving release “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas from a script by Lena Waithe. 

“It’s a blessing, man,” he said over a late October lunch at Mid-City’s Paper or Plastik cafe. “I realized I’m always there at the beginning of things: Doing Jordan’s first [directed] film and then Lena’s first film, the first [season] of ‘Black Mirror,’ ‘Black Panther.’ It’s a nice thing to affirm something that could be in the zeitgeist.”

In the same way that “Get Out” and “Black Panther” sparked broad and unexpected cultural conversations when they were released, “Queen & Slim” is primed to do the same. A love story about an unlikely black couple on the run after an altercation with a police officer, the film was intended as a meditation on police brutality and feels decidedly of the times.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on November 30, 2019 by Editor

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