2013 is shaping up to be quite an exciting year on both the little and big screen. From films with pretty sizeable budgets starring Hollywood heavy hitters, to smaller indie productions using ever inventive ways to get their cinematic visions across to the masses – things certainly look promising for Black British creatives in the film and television industry, with everyone from actors and screenwriters to producers and directors getting their much-needed time to shine. Here is a round up of six super screen moments to look forward to in the new year.
Based on the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the mixed race illegitimate child of a British slave captor, Belle is a period drama based on her life directed by BAFTA Award winning director Amma Asante. Scheduled for release in 2013, the film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sarah Gadon, Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson. With very little information available about Dido Elizabeth Belle this promises to be a captivating watch.
5. GONE TOO FAR!
Bola Adbaje’s Laurence Olivier award-winning play ‘Gone Too Far’ gets the cinematic treatment which marks the feature film directional debut of Destiny Ekaragha. Shot in London over four weeks in October, Gone Too Far stars Malachi Kirby and O.C Ukeje who play two estranged brothers (one who grew up on an estate in London, the other Nigeria) who meet up for the first time and spend the course of a day ending up in all kinds of compromising situations while getting to know each other beyond their cultural differences. Backed by the BFI, there is no official release date as yet and very few details available online. But with Bola and Destiny at the helm, I fully expect this to be a top class production.
4. HALF OF A YELLOW SUN
I was a little flummoxed when I learned that Thandie Newton had been cast as the lead character in the film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel Half of A Yellow Sun. I read the book a few years ago so can’t recall clearly whether the lead character of Olanna was given a detailed physical description or not. But I definitely envisioned a darker skinned actresses playing the lead role and as it turns out, I wasn’t the only one - a petition was created by a group of Igbo Nigerian women who rightfully raised questions about the film industry’s tendency to white wash Black narratives, and how the practice inadvertently contributes to the growing demand for skin bleaching products in Nigeria. But anyhow, I digress. After seeing this movie still I’m more than a little excited about seeing how Chimamanda’s epic novel based on the Biafran war which took place in Nigeria between 1967-1970, will translate on the big screen. There is no official release date yet, but I’ll be sure to post more info when I receive it.
3. THE ICE CREAM GIRLS
As mentioned in a previous post, Dorothy Koomson’s novel The Ice Cream Girls is being turned into a ITV drama miniseries which will air in spring 2013. The book is based on two teenage girls who are accused of murder and although they both maintain that they are innocent, their lives are forever altered and they go their separate ways until they meet over fifteen years later and are forced to confront their harrowing past. Lorraine Burroughs of Fast Girls fame plays Serena, one of the accused girls. Based on the book – which is thrilling, thought provoking, nerve wrecking and heartbreaking – I’m expecting a quality drama, so please do it justice, ITV.
2. LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
Nelson Mandela’s autobiography The Long Walk To Freedom is coming to the big screen in 2013. Idris Elba will be playing the great man himself, while Naomie Harris will appear as his wife, the controversial and polarising, Winnie Mandela. Now this should be interesting. While I have much respect for Idris as an actor/movie star, whether he is able to pull off such an iconic and important role with the required gravitas remains to be seen. That said, I’m rooting for him and if he does manage to nail it and the film pulls in decent numbers at the box office, I’m pretty certain that this will propel him into the acting elite.
1. LUTHER – SEASON 3
2013 looks likely to be the year of the Elba. Alongside ‘Long Walk To Freedom‘ Idris is also set to reprise his role as Detective Chief Inspector John Luther in the BBC cult drama Luther. The bad news? There are only three episodes scheduled for season 3 (why only three measly episodes BBC, WHY?). But nonetheless expect your Twitter feed to explode as once again we embark on a white knuckle ride through the life and times of this flawed, sexy, conflicted detective as he attempts to balance his catastrophic personal life with solving the violent crimes occurring on the gritty streets of London. With the runaway success of the first two seasons and rumours of Luther being turned into a film we are pretty sure that Luther won’t be hanging up his tatty tweed jackets anytime soon.