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8 items from 2009

Casting Standouts: 'Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire'

9 December 2009 6:02 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

For casting director Billy Hopkins, the central challenge of director Lee Daniels' "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" was obvious and immediate. The main character, Claireece "Precious" Jones, is a 300-pound African-American teenager—not exactly a common Hollywood type. "My associate Jessica Kelly, she and I said, 'Okay, we're probably going to have to find a real person,' " he recalls. This person also needed to be able to withstand an emotionally grueling shoot: After being impregnated by her absentee father, the character is subjected to endless abuse from her toxic mother (Mo'Nique) and mercilessly teased by cruel classmates. Hopkins and Kelly did a massive search, setting up open calls in New York and Los Angeles. They viewed countless tapes from all over the country. They even put together a summer "boot camp" of 10 promising contenders, none of whom ultimately satisfied the casting needs. "It was almost Labor Day, »

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New Outkast album in 2010?

8 December 2009 11:26 AM, PST | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Outkast member Big Boi has revealed tentative plans for the duo to release a new studio album in 2010. The rapper told Billboard the record would follow solo albums from both him and partner Andre 3000 next year, their first album since 2005's Idlewild. "This is all in the next year or so, starting with my album coming at the top of the year, Dre 3000 right after me," he said. "And when the solo albums come out, depending on (more) »

- By Oli Simpson

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Family Matters

25 November 2009 9:02 AM, PST | | See recent Backstage news »

The cast of "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire" developed a true familial dynamic—impressive, considering that the family depicted in Lee Daniels' film is anything but harmonious.The story follows Claireece "Precious" Jones (Gabourey Sidibe), a pregnant, illiterate 16-year-old who suffers constant abuse at the hands of her vitriolic mother (Mo'Nique) and absentee father. She eventually transfers to an alternative high school and slowly begins to turn her life around.The script, adapted by Geoffrey Fletcher from Sapphire's novel, had an immediate effect on the actors who signed on to the project. Paula Patton, who plays Precious' kindly teacher, Ms. Rain, recalls that it reduced her to tears. "There's something magical about a script that creates a visceral reaction in you," she says. "I loved it."Sidibe, meanwhile, had read the book a few years earlier and felt an instant connection to the vibrant characters and themes. »

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Paula Patton thinks playing a lesbian is important in "Precious"

10 November 2009 10:00 AM, PST | | See recent news »

If you weren't familiar with Paula Patton before Precious, you should get acquainted with her in the new issue of Giant magazine.

Being called "the next Halle Barry" is a great compliment, especially for a relatively new actress like Paula.

Her first film was 2005's Hitch and she's only been in a handful since then. Fortunately for her, she's been able to land parts in fairly high profile films like Idlewild from the men behind Outkast and now in Precious, which broke box office records this weekend.

Patton plays Ms. Rain, a lesbian teacher that helps Precious to question her life's worth and her sexuality. In this great video of interviews, Paula discusses her love of Gabby Sidibe (the actress who played Precious) and why it was important that her character be a lesbian.

With so many other stars in the film, it's important not to ignore Paula Patton — she's »

- Trish Bendix

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Big Boi: 'New OutKast album is fire'

19 August 2009 10:17 AM, PDT | Digital Spy | See recent Digital Spy - Movie News news »

Big Boi has promised that OutKast will release another album and described the record as "fire" and "top secret". The rapper told AllHipHop that the follow-up to 2006's Idlewild would be released after he and his bandmate Andre 3000 put out their own solo LPs. Big Boi said: "For all you OutKast lovers, the album is coming. I'm tired of talking about it and know y'all (sic) are tired of hearing me talk about it. But it's coming and the album is fire! "The Kast album is top secret but Organized Noise (more) »

- By Mayer Nissim

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The New "Dancing With The Stars" Cast Announced!

17 August 2009 8:32 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

This morning ABC has unveiled the cast of the newest season of Dancing with the Stars which will be going into it's ninth season this fall.  The cast will include a politician for the first time, as well as the typical string of actors, athletes, and other random celebrities, and more of them.  The cast this season has been boosted to 16, double that of the first season.

Starting things off we have the season 9 men of Dancing with the Stars, which will include:

Tom DeLay – 62, former Politician.  DeLay represents the first politician, current or former, that Dwts has managed to land.  Delay served as House Majority leader until he was forced to step down following a 2005 Texas grand jury indictment on money laundering charges. He's a hard core Republican whose known as "The hammer" for his dealings with other politicians, and if he can bring that same kind of fire »

- Bryan Jones

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Christina Aguilera Headed to the Big Screen in Burlesque

5 May 2009 1:30 AM, PDT | | See recent news »

Pop singer Christina Aguilera has been cast in her first feature film titled Burlesque in development at Screen Gems. The film is a contemporary musical where Aguilera will play an ambitious smalltown girl with a big voice who finds love, family and success in a Los Angeles neo-burlesque club. Burlesque is being pitched as Moulin Rouge meets Cabaret, using established songs that will be updated and worked into dance numbers. Former actor Steve Antin will also be making this his feature directorial debut after helming the straight-to-dvd thriller Glass House in 2006 and the Pussycat Doll's music video for "Sway." While this is obviously inspired by Cabaret, I can't help but think of Idlewild from 2006, which was a musical that tried to capitalize on the talent and success of Outkast members André 3000 and Big Boi, but flopped in the end. Variety says the script for Burlesque was originally written »

- Alex Billington

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Five Favorite Films with Terrence Howard

23 April 2009 8:31 AM, PDT | Rotten Tomatoes | See recent Rotten Tomatoes news »

The Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard has amassed an impressive resume since making his Hollywood breakthrough in the 1995 drama Mr. Holland's Opus (he also starred in that year's Dead Presidents), excelling at giving each and every one of his characters an extraordinary complexity that always seems to simmer right beneath the surface, whether as part of an ensemble (Crash, Lackawanna Blues), as a villain (Awake, Idlewild), a sympathetic figure (Four Brothers, August Rush), or a hero in waiting (Iron Man). In a discussion about Howard's favorite films, Rotten Tomatoes discovered that the actor's affinity for music runs close to his »

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