Casting News: Ava DuVernay for Marvel, More James Wan, Common and Dwayne Johnson News

You know what this is—it’s in the title. Let’s get into it. Two to three weeks worth of news! (silently crying inside at how deceptively hard these types of posts are):

black-ish creator Kenya Barris is writing the script to Good Times movie! Are we happy about this?

A new Thanksgiving movie is coming thanks to David E. Talbert and Will Packer! The holiday-themed family comedy is will be made via Universal. 

FINALLY! HARRIET TUBMAN IS GETTING HER MOVIE! AND VIOLA DAVIS IS PLAYING HER! Between this and the news about the $20 bill, Tubman is having a stellar time in 2015. The film will air on HBO.

Brian Tee is quickly making his come-up! First, there was Wedding Palaceand now there’s the upcoming Jurassic World and this latest casting news: TMNT 2. Tee will be playing iconic villain Shredder. 

Michelle Rodriguez is taking her Fast and Furious shtick to Yahoo! She’ll be hosting an online show about cars called Riding Shotgun With Michelle Rodriguez. 

Common is also on his come-up; he’s been in several TV shows and movies, and now he can add Barbershop 3 to the list. Also joining Barbershop 3: Nicki Minaj.

Wendell Pierce is playing Clarence Thomas in HBO’s film about the Supreme Justice’s sexual harassment scandal, Confirmation. 

Transgender actor Scott Turner Schofield is making history as the first transgender actor to have a major role on a daytime TV show. He’s been added to the cast of soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. 

China and Iraq are coming together to produce Way of Shaolin. This marks the first time the two countries have co-produced a film together, as Chinese media sources state.

James Wan is at it again! He’s been adding so many jobs to his resume, which is great for his bank account, I’m sure, but his dance card is going to be busy. He’s now in talks to direct Robotech for Sony. Maybe this will mean they’ll actually cast Asian people in this live-action anime adaptation?

Twilight actor Alex Meraz is joining Suicide Squad as…someone. I’ve got to say, I’m not sure about this movie, but I’m glad people of color are making up most of the cast…but honestly, I don’t know about this movie. The set pictures are concerning me.

Orange is the New Black star Elizabeth Rodriguez had joined Fear the Walking Dead also as…someone. Even though I’m not a big fan of the original Walking Dead, I’m looking forward to Fear the Walking Dead, since I’m hoping there’s going to be some context put to all of this zombie business. Recent reports suggest otherwise, but still, I’m hoping.

Roots is coming back as a new miniseries on History,A&E and Lifetime. Will Packer and Kunta Kinte himself, LeVar Burton, are executive producing. I was worried about this at first, because if you’ve grown up in a black household, you’ll know that Roots is akin to The Ten Commandments. Every black person has seen Roots at least once, including me, and the time to watch it is usually in the winter/spring, with Black History Month. But since Burton’s on board, I feel better about the direction of the production.

Lorne Michaels is probably really trying to make sure we don’t think he doesn’t care about black people. Michaels is producing Brothers In Atlanta, starring and created by Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. The HBO comedy will be directed by Tim Story.

Steve Aoki is hosting Ultimate DJ, which is being billed as the X-Factor for electronic dance music. Simon Cowell is behind the show.

Angela Bassett is coming back to American Horror Story! The new anthology will be called American Horror Story: Hotel.

John Singleton is partnering with FX to create a 1980s drama called Snowfall, chronicling the rise of crack in Los Angeles.

The Mortal Instruments TV series Shadowhunters is something I’d meant to write about a long time ago, since the YA novel had white main leads and now the TV adaptation is having non-white actors. But, the show, which is coming to ABC Family, is starring Alberto Rosende and Emeraude Toubia, both Latino actors. The author, Cassandra Clare, hit back at the haters and said that she approved of the choices. Also cool: Harry Shum, Jr. has joined the cast as “Magnus Bane, the high warlock of Brooklyn,” according to this tweet. If you’ve read the books, I’m sure that sentence makes sense to you.

Aziz Ansari is partnering with Netflix with the producers of Parks and Recreation. The show is described as being semi-autobiographical and, of course, detailing dating and relationships.

The Oscar-nominated documentary focusing on Cuba’s cultural offerings, The Buena Vista Social Club, is getting a sequel! It’s going to be called The Buena Vista Social Club — Adios. 

Newcomer Kascion Franklin is playing a version of comedian Lenny Henry in Danny and the Human Zoo, written by Henry and directed by Destiny Ekaragha. The film is a fictional account of Henry’s life in 1970s Dudley, England. According to Wikipedia, the film was commissioned in part by the head of BBC One wanting more opportunities for black actors. Good for you, BBC One Head.

Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, and Lenny Kravitz are some of the first guest stars added to the second season of Empire

Atlanta Broadcast Studio is kicking operations off with their new national TV show, Coffee with America. Ebony Steele from Dish Nation and The Rickey Smiley Show is hosting along with Sasha Rionda from CNN Espanol and CNN International.

Stephanie Mills is coming to The Wiz! “But she’s been in The Wiz! It’s been on Broadway!” you’re saying. Well, The Wiz is coming to NBC and Stephanie Mills, who originally played Dorothy on Broadway, will play Auntie Em on NBC. 

Dwayne Johnson is also one that’s getting in every movie lately. Johnson is producing and starring in sci-fi action comedy Alpha Squad 7, coming via Dreamworks, and he’s also starring opposite Kevin Hart in Central Intelligence. I was actually given a press release on this, so here it is:

BURBANK, CA, May 13, 2015 – Production has begun in Boston on the action comedy “Central Intelligence,” for New Line Cinema and Universal Pictures.  The film, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, will be directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, director of the hit comedies “We’re the Millers” and “Dodgeball.”

The story follows a one-time bullied geek who grew up to be a lethal CIA agent (Johnson), coming home for his high school reunion.  Claiming to be on a top-secret case, he enlists the help of the former “big man on campus” (Hart), now an accountant who misses his glory days.  But before the staid numbers-cruncher realizes what he’s getting into it’s too late to get out, as his increasingly unpredictable new friend drags him through a world of shoot-outs, double-crosses and espionage that could get them both killed in more ways than he can count.

“Central Intelligence” will also star Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (“Gone Baby Gone”) as CIA Agent Harris; and Danielle Nicolet (TV’s “The Game”) as Maggie, the wife and high school sweetheart of Hart’s BMOC.

Thurber will direct from a screenplay by Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen and Sean Anders & John Morris, story by Ike Barinholtz & David Stassen.  The film will be produced by Scott Stuber (“Ted”), Peter Principato (TV’s “Black-ish”), Paul Young (“Black-ish”) and Michael Fottrell (“Furious Seven”).  Ed Helms, who previously worked with Thurber on “We’re the Millers,” will serve as executive producer.

The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Barry Peterson (“We’re the Millers,” “21 Jump Street”), production designer Stephen Lineweaver (“Ted,” “Blades of Glory”), editors Mike Sale and Brian Olds (“We’re the Millers,” “Tammy”) and costume designer Carol Ramsey (“Horrible Bosses,” “Dodgeball”).

A New Line Cinema and Universal Pictures presentation of a Bluegrass Films/Principato Young Entertainment Production, “Central Intelligence” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Freida Pinto has joined the cast of Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins. Keep in mind—there are two Jungle Book movies coming out. Both casts are quite major, so I can’t put all my eggs in either basket. I’m pulling for both of them. But, I have to say that Andy Serkis edges the battle out for me, despite the star power of IDRIS ELBA and LUPITA NYONG’O in the Disney live-action remake. If I had to use that hateful word “bae” for anyone, it’s going to be Andy Serkis. That’s how real it is.

La La Anthony is starring in the A&E crime procedural Unforgettable as Delina Michaels, a medical examiner who is making a mark in the ME world as well as the romantic world.

Telenovela Queen of the South getting adapted to USA Network! The novela La Reina del Sur is already a hit on Telemundo.

The biggest news of the past week is AVA DUVERNAY POSSIBLY COMING TO MARVEL AND POSSIBLY DIRECTING BLACK PANTHER! Or, it could be Rick Famiyuma for Black Panther and DuVernay for Captain Marvel

Maybe Joel Edgerton is also doing a low-key Lorne Michaels and trying to prove he understands the black experience (to the best of his ability) by playing in the documentary about The Lovings, the interracial couple that made the Supreme Court ban laws against interracial relationships in America. Edgerton and Ruth Negga are playing the titular couple in The Loving Story

Mike Tyson, someone who’s somehow become America’s Family-Friendly Boxer (despite his crime-ridden past) is playing a property developer/street fighter in Ip Man 3. Donnie Yen will once again play Ip Man.

Really big news: Taye Diggs is going to be the next actor to play Hedwig on Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch! I don’t think the character has been played by a black actor before. Correct me if I’m wrong, since Playbill.com didn’t say that in their write-up. 

The last thing on this list (!) is Dreamworks has picked up the script for Phenomenon, the film about Elizabeth “Betty” Robinson, who won the very first 100-meter dash held for women.

PHEW! All right! Dissect how you see fit.

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