Hoodlum (1997) - News Poster

(1997)

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Film About Racketeer Stephanie St. Clair in Development at HBO

Cicely Tyson as Stephanie St. Clair in the 1997 film “Hoodlum

A fter presenting the Oprah Winfrey-starring, Emmy nominated film “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” earlier this year, HBO is planning to bring another historically overlooked African-American female figure to the spotlight. According to Deadline, the cable network is setting its sights on racketeer Stephanie St. Clair.

HBO has joined forces with director Tim Story (“Fantastic Four”) and production company Zero Gravity Management to tell the story of “the woman who was an immigrant from the Caribbean and ended up running something known as the Policy Bank — which really was the precursor to the American lottery system.”

St. Clair’s wealth was deeply tied to organized crime, but “when mobsters Dutch Schultz and Lucky Luciano and a corrupt police force tried to take over her criminal enterprise, she fought fiercely against them and won those battles,” Deadline summarizes.

The project is based on Shirley Stewart’s book, “The World of Stephanie St. Clair: An Entrepreneur, Race Woman and Outlaw in Early Twentieth Century Harlem.” Nicole Asher — who is currently attached to Octavia Spencer and LeBron James’ project on entrepreneur and activist Madam C.J. Walker — will write the script.

Singer-songwriter Janet Jackson is also working on a St. Clair project via Lifetime. A loose adaptation of St. Clair’s story was presented in Bill Duke’s 1997 film “Hoodlum.” Cicely Tyson (“The Help”) portrayed St. Clair.

Film About Racketeer Stephanie St. Clair in Development at HBO was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

From Depp to Hardy: 9 actors playing notorious real-life gangsters

Johnny Depp was recently photographed in full prosthetics to play real-life Boston gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger in the upcoming movie Black Mass.

The 50-year-old actor was wearing a balding wig cap, fake teeth, a blue open shirt with a gold chain, and a black leather jacket as he shot the film's final scenes in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Benedict Cumberbatch recently joined the cast as Whitey Bulger's brother Billy Bulger, along with Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott, who is reported to be playing FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick.

The Scott Cooper-directed crime drama is due for release in cinemas on September 18, 2015.

Bulger spent 16 years at large and 12 years on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list before he was arrested in June 2011, aged 81. Prosecutors indicted him for 19 murders and he is currently serving two life terms.

Here are 9 other actors morphing into some of the world's most notorious real-life gangsters below:
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

‘The Help’ Cast to be Honored at the Hollywood Film Awards

HollywoodNews.com: Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O’Reilly, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel to be honored at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony.

The 15th Annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards, presented by Starz Entertainment, are pleased to announce that the cast of DreamWorks Pictures and Participant Media’s “The Help” – Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O’Reilly, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel – will be recognized at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony with the “Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award.”

The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, Founder of the 15th Annual Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony, which will take place on the evening of Monday, October 24, 2011, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The Hollywood Film Awards Gala launches the awards season.
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

Keanu Reeves Interview on Henry's Crime

  • ShockYa
Keanu Reeves Interview on Henry's Crime
Keanu Reeves spoke with HeyUGuys about his role in the upcoming film “Henry’s Crime” by director Malcolm Venville (44 Inch Chest) and starring Keanu Reeves (47 Ronin, The Matrix), Vera Farmiga (The Departed, Up in the Air, Source Code), Judy Greer (Three Kings, What Women Want), James Caan (The Godfather, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Middle Men), Peter Stormare (The Big Lebowski, Chupacabra), Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit, Hackers, Lol) and Bill Duke (The Driver, Hoodlum, Predator). Synopsis: An aimless man is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. Stay tuned to Shockya.com for the latest movie news and more from “Henry’s Crime”.
See full article at ShockYa »

Grover joins cast of 'The Driver'

Grover joins cast of 'The Driver'
Gulshan Grover is to reportedly star in Hollywood film The Driver opposite Salma Hayek. According to the Times of India, the Bollywood villain joins the cast of the film directed by Sister Act 2 and Hoodlum director Bill Duke. Other cast members are rumoured to be Will Smith, Janet Jackson and Queen Latifah. Speaking of casting Grover in the film, Duke said: "Since (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Gulshan Grover to star opposite Salma Hayek in Hollywood film The Driver

  • BollywoodHungama
Gulshan Grover to star opposite Salma Hayek in Hollywood film The Driver
You've heard of the classic Hollywood film Taxi Driver, now you will soon get to see The Driver and starring in it is none other than the bad man of Bollywood - Gulshan Grover. If that wasn't tempting enough read this... he'll be starring opposite the sultry Latino Salma Hayek in the film. Directed by Hollywood biggie Bill Duke, who has done some rather exemplary work with A Rage in Harlem, Hoodlum, Sister Act 2 and Not Easily Broken, this film will be a starry delight. While in La, Gulshan was spotted by Bill at a charity event, with a meeting fixed, Gulshan read the script, liked it and signed it on. Gulshan was just the actor Bill was looking for with his versatility, experience and ability to improvise. Gulshan Grover will be acting alongside a number of Hollywood stars. A story about hope, Gulshan's character is that of a rank and file accountant,
See full article at BollywoodHungama »

American Gangster

American Gangster
The title is catchy but misleading. Frank Lucas was less an American Gangster than an original Old Gangster in sable, a caricature in the tradition of '70s blaxploitation flicks.

He is in fact a real-life character, an apparently highly attractive person -- likable even -- who made millions by killing people and ruining lives with the powdered death of heroin. Going up against this all-powerful yet ghostly figure who operates outside the old Mafia networks, is Richie Roberts, an incorruptible cop from the street who is determined put him in prison. Director Ridley Scott takes on these familiar subjects, themes and characters with a keen eye for the social fabric, false assumptions, suffocating corruption and vivid personalities that make such a story worth retelling.

So this is a gangster movie focused on character rather than action and on the intricacies of people's backgrounds, strategies and motivations. Whether it means to, the film plays off a clutch of old movies, from The Godfather and Serpico to Superfly and Shaft. But Scott and writer Steven Zaillian make certain their Old Gangster is original and true to himself and his times rather than a concoction of movie fiction. Consequently, the movie is smooth and smart enough to attract a significant audience beyond the considerable fan base of its stars, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe.

You do sense in this movie that its principals are returning to safe harbor. After a discouraging foray into feeble comedy by Scott and Crowe (A Good Year) and Gothic Southern melodrama for Zaillian ("All the King's Men"), these artists scramble back to an emotional naturalism more aligned to their sensibilities. Even for Washington, who seldom makes a false step careerwise, the film represents a welcome return to the larger-than-life villainy he performed so well in 2001's Training Day.

Zaillian, working from Mark Jacobson's magazine portrait of Lucas -- a heroin kingpin of Harlem in the late '60s and early '70s -- sets two men on a collision course. Lucas (Washington), a country lad from North Carolina, is the nearly invisible driver and right-hand man to Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson, the most famous of Harlem gangsters. (So famous that this is his fourth movie reincarnation. Moses Gunn played him in Shaft, and Lawrence Fishburne twice in The Cotton Club and Hoodlum.) When Bumpy dies in his arms, Frank moves into the vacuum caused by his death with ruthless guile and a friendly personality.

Meanwhile, Richie Roberts (Crowe), a street-smart drug cop in New Jersey, is Frank's opposite: He can't help alienating everyone who crosses his path. His wife wants a divorce, insisting he leads a life entirely unsuitable to the welfare of their only child. Fellow cops shun him from the moment he brings in nearly a million dollars of recovered drug money. No one can understand why he didn't keep it, which says a lot about the state of policing in the New York/New Jersey area in 1968.

Frank's stroke of genius in the drug trade is to cut out the middleman. He flies to Thailand, takes a boat up the river in the Golden Triangle, makes a deal with a Chinese general, then arranges through an in-law to ship the kilos to New York in military planes coming back from Vietnam. His heroin, branded Blue Magic, hits the street twice as good and half as much as the competition.

It is so pure that dead junkies turn up all over New York. The police are baffled but look in all the wrong places. It never occurs to them that a black man is behind the scheme. Richie, whose whacked-out partner is one of Blue Magic's victims, is given his own task force. He finally targets Frank, but no one will believe him.

Frank flies under the radar. He hires only relatives -- a veritable army of brothers like Huey Lucas (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as well as cousins -- whom he sets up with storefront businesses that function as drug-distribution centers. He maintains a low profile and adheres to a rigid code of conduct. His major weekly outings are to church with his mother (the inestimable Ruby Dee) or to his nightclub with wife Eva (Lymari Nadal), a former Miss Puerto Rico.

Richie's major opposition comes from within. New York's anti-drug task force, the Special Investigations Unit, is rife with corruption. As personified by Detective Trupo (a strutting Josh Brolin), the SIU takes its cut right off the top.

In a story that ranges from the jungles of Harlem and Thailand to North Carolina backwoods, Scott is both hurried and leisurely. He covers a lot of territory, often in low-light levels and with the Vietnam War playing on background TV sets, soaking up the sordid atmosphere, including naked, surgically masked women cutting the dope -- so no one will steal anything -- and celebrities like Joe Lewis cheerfully slumming with the gangsters. The scruffiness of Richie's world makes a brilliant contrast to Frank's penthouse. Yet both worlds teem with moral ambiguity.

If there are no false steps here, there are few highlights either. Such films as The Godfather and Serpico contain iconic scenes and sequences. American Gangster contributes little. It's workmanlike and engrossing, but what sticks in the mind are Frank and Richie, not what anybody does.

The film concocts a final sequence in which the two finally meet and do a deal, the deal that apparently sprung Frank from prison to enjoy his old age: Frank rats out the SIU cops who shook him down, resulting in most of the unit going to prison. Richie ends up leaving the force to become a lawyer and eventually represents Frank. So American Gangster finally shows its true colors: It's really a buddy movie.

AMERICAN GANGSTER

Universal

Imagine Entertainment presents a Relativity Media/Scott Free Prods. production

Credits:

Director: Ridley Scott

Screenwriter: Steven Zaillian

Based on an article by: Mark Jacobson

Producers: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott

Executive producers: Nicholas Pileggi, Steven Zaillian, Branko Lustig, Jim Whitaker, Michael Costigan

Director of photography: Harris Savides

Production designer: Arthur Max

Music: Marc Streitenfeld

Costume designer: Janty Yates

Editor: Pietro Scalia

Cast:

Frank Lucas: Denzel Washington

Richie Roberts: Russell Crowe

Huey Lucas: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Detective Trupo: Josh Brolin

Eva: Lymari Nadal

Lou: Ted Levine

Nate: Roger Guenveur Smith

Freddie Spearman: John Hawkes

Moses Jones: RZA

Nickey Barnes: Cuba Gooding Jr.

Dominic: Armand Assante

Mama Lucas: Rudy Dee

Running time -- 157 minutes

MPAA rating: R

See also

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