Press: Regina King Directing Debut ‘One Night In Miami’ Underway With Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge & Leslie Odom Jr As ’60s Icons

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Regina King has started production in New Orleans on One Night In Miami, with Kingsley Ben-Adir (The OA) as civil rights activist Malcolm X, Eli Goree (Riverdale) as Cassius Clay right before he became Muhammad Ali, Aldis Hodge (Clemency) as gridiron great Jim Brown, and Grammy and Tony Award-winner Leslie Odom, Jr. (Harriet) playing singer Sam Cooke.

The film is an adaptation of the Olivier-nominated stage play by Kemp Powers, who wrote the script. Set on the night of February 25, 1964, the drama follows the brash young Cassius Clay after he shocked the world by knocking out seemingly invincible Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion. While crowds of people swarm Miami Beach to celebrate the match, Clay – unable to stay on the island because of Jim Crow-era segregation laws – spends the evening at the Hampton House Motel in Miami’s African American Overtown neighborhood celebrating with three of his closest friends: Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown. All of them were beginning to assert themselves in the Civil Rights movement and the empowerment of black people, and it was an evening to share their thoughts with each other on their responsibility to use their influence and stature to benefit the black community. By night’s end, they leave each other determined to define a new world.

”’One Night in Miami is a love letter to black manhood that powerfully explores themes of race, identity, and friendship,” said King, who makes her directing debut fresh from winning the Oscar for the Barry Jenkins-directed If Beale Street Could Talk. “Each of them has contributed so much to culture and history. We’re so excited to have Kingsley, Eli, Aldis, and Leslie in the lead roles showing a different side of these iconic men.”

The play was originally staged in 2013, taking an actual event — the meeting between the iconic figures — and imagining what transpired between them as their friendship, successes and shared struggles fueled their paths to becoming galvanizing figures of their era. Odom will perform Cooke’s songs, including A Change Is Gonna Come.

Jess Wu Calder and Keith Calder of Snoot Entertainment (Blindspotting) and Jody Klein of ABKCO (The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus) are producing, with King and Powers the executive producers.

The cinematographer is Tami Reiker (Beyond the Lights), costume designer is Francine Jamison-Tanchuck (Just Mercy), the production designer is Barry Robison (Hacksaw Ridge) and editor is Tariq Anwar (King’s Speech and American Beauty).

Ben-Adir is repped by CAA. Goree is repped by Authentic Talent and Literary Management and Play Management. Hodge is managed by Jason Priluck, Paradigm, and Ziffren Brittenham. Odom Jr. is repped by Untitled, CAA, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer; King is repped by ICM Partners, John Carrabino Management, and Del, Shaw.

Gallery Update: Photoshoots and “Clemency” LA Screening

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

     
     
 

 

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Press: Hollywood Podcast – From ‘Friday Night Lights’ To ‘Clemency’, Aldis Hodge Is Making His Mark On Hollywood

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

 

DEADLINE – Aldis Hodge has been acting since he was a child, but he caught the attention of Hollywood when he starred in the acclaimed Texas high school football drama Friday Night Lights as Ray “Voodoo” Tatum, the stone-faced, “I’m not here to make friends” Dillon Panthers quarterback who posed problems for Coach Taylor and the team. From there, Hodge continued have career glow-up as he landed roles in numerous TV series and films including the critically acclaimed Underground as well as the features Straight Outta Compton and Hidden Figures. Most recently he stars opposite Kevin Bacon in the Showtime drama City on a Hill and gives a stirring performance in a pair of prison reform dramas that includes the Tom Shadyac-directed Brian Banks and Chinonye Chukwu’s prison reform drama Clemency, which he co-stars with Alfre Woodard.

With an extensive resume of TV series and films, Hodge is determined to leave an impact by telling stories with his craft. He isn’t looking to stop anytime soon as he continues to impress with his focus, determination and career choices — and just today, Deadline exclusively broke the news that he’d be playing football legend Jim Brown in Regina King’s feature directorial debut, One Night in Miami. He stopped by Deadline’s New Hollywood Podcast to talk about how his family inspired and nurtured his career and what he wants to tackle next. Listen to the episode below.

 

 

Press: Aldis Hodge Takes off in ‘Clemency’

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

HEMISPHERES MAGAZINE – Where You’ve Seen Him: Playing a real-life football player wrongfully convicted of rape in last summer’s Brian Banks, an assistant district attorney fighting police corruption on Showtime’s City on a Hill, and a fiercely independent slave named Noah in the WGN America series Underground.

Origins: The North Carolina–born son of two former Marines got his first big acting break at the age of 5, when he and his brother were cast on Sesame Street. “That was pretty cool, going to work every day to see Big Bird and Elmo and Oscar the Grouch,” says Hodge, now 33. “You’re living in the fantasy of this being your reality every day.”

Changing Course: At age 14, Hodge, already fed up with typecasting in Hollywood, made a commitment to avoid stereotypical roles. “For a while, all the auditions I was getting were thug this, thug that, and I realized that if we keep supporting that idea, that’s how people will continue to look at us,” he says. On his 21st birthday, he landed his breakout role as a brainy hacker on TNT’s Leverage. “I would have tons of black men, women, and young kids come up to me and say, ‘Thank God someone’s finally showing what we’re capable of.’”

Star Turn: In the drama Clemency (in theaters now), Hodge takes on his most complex role to date: death-row inmate Anthony Woods. The film, which also stars Alfre Woodard as a stoic warden, won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival—the first time a black female director (Chinonye Chukwu) has received that honor. Hodge admits that Anthony’s journey is an emotional roller-coaster, but he points out that the experience is unsettling by design. “Our director would never tell me whether or not he did it,” Hodge says. “I don’t want the audience to see him through the lens of the death row condition. I want them to see a human being and see if they can empathize with that human being.”

Up Next: A self-taught horologist, Hodge is hoping to start his own watch brand soon. “I’m building a legacy to pass down to my kids,” he says. He is also honing his behind-the-scenes skills as a producer: “I want to put myself in a position where I can start creating jobs for other people.” More selfishly? “I would love to strap on some tights and do the superhero thing!”

Press: Alfre Woodard needed just one take to nail the toughest scene in ‘Clemency’

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

LA TIMES – Time was of the essence on the 17-day shoot for “Clemency,” short even by indie film standards, so writer-director Chinonye Chukwu spent months prepping with actors Alfre Woodard and Aldis Hodge.

They didn’t rehearse so much as talk deeply about their characters — a prison warden in the midst of a moral crisis and one of her death row inmates, fighting for relief — so that the acting could live on its own, in the moment, once the camera rolled.

That work yielded two of the most heartrending performances of the year. Woodard and Hodge quietly bring enormous humanity to characters whose lives are irrevocably intertwined within the walls of death row, each delivering their own standout moments in scenes captured in a miraculously few number of takes.

In one scene, Hodge’s condemned inmate silently crumbles while being described the menu of lethal injections that will soon kill him, the looming end to his life sinking in with shocking reality.

In another it’s Woodard’s character who strains to contain her own tormented conscience in a masterful three-and-a-half-minute take that lingers resolutely on her face, the camera refusing to let her go.

“People really came prepared,” Chukwu said at the tail end of a long journey with her second feature. (“Clemency” had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where it won the coveted grand prize for U.S. narratives and was acquired by Neon. It opened in limited release over the weekend.)

Hodge’s scene, she says, took only two takes to nail. Woodard’s stunning moment, also conveyed without dialogue and held within the immense power of her eyes and face alone, was filmed just once. “I knew as we were shooting. This is it. This is the moment,” said Chukwu.

Woodard, a former Oscar nominee, stars as Bernadine Williams, a by-the-book death-row warden who takes pride in her work. But presiding over nearly a dozen executions has taken its toll on her happiness and her marriage.

She drinks too much and doesn’t process nearly enough, and the cracks are beginning to widen. When her 12th execution, of inmate Victor Jimenez (Alex Castillo, in a brief but affecting performance), goes terribly wrong, Bernadine’s psychological fortress is further rattled ahead of her 13th: Anthony Woods (Hodge), a young African American man scheduled to die who may or may not be guilty of his crime.

“As the actor, my job always is to leave myself behind — my opinions, my history, any idiosyncrasies — and find that person, stand that person up to the point that she’s a human being,” said Woodard, joined by Hodge on a recent day in Los Angeles. “Every character I ever played, I had to learn to think the way they think. And this one took me to the other side, the absolute other side of the circle than I’d always inhabited.”
Continue reading Press: Alfre Woodard needed just one take to nail the toughest scene in ‘Clemency’

Press: Content Mode Interview

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

CONTENT MODEYour first acting credit came at a young age. Tell me what your childhood was like growing up juggling schoolwork and auditions.

My childhood was great. Not always easy, but definitely great. I was being raised by a mom who believed in my dream enough to support it, along with great siblings to share it with. When we experienced troubling times of poverty, we got through it together, and that’s what made it survivable.

School was at the mercy of the dreams we chased. Public school turned into homeschool, which then turned into college for me at the age of 14. My pathway through academia was as nuanced as my career choice.

In past interviews, you’ve mentioned that you were type cast in certain roles as a teenager. Tell me how you broke out of that cycle. Did it affect the direction of your career?

I broke out by simply invoking the power to say “No”. I refused to go on those auditions and, though the sacrifice of the lack of jobs was felt early, it eventually paid off. Without making that decision, I wouldn’t be getting the caliber of work that I’ve been fortunate enough to grab onto over these past few years.

If you could go back and give your younger self any career advice, what would it be?

Believe in your full potential, and don’t be afraid to express yourself to the fullest. As an artist, only worry about satisfying your honest intent when you create. You can’t allow the opinions of others to dictate your passion.

2015-2016 was arguably a pivotal year in your career, appearing in both Straight Outta Compton and Hidden Figures, two films that received both critical acclaim and box office success. What was the experience like for you? How did you keep grounded during this period?

The experiences were simply great educations about how we are able to fully impact people in a huge way with our art. Each film took on a life of its own through our audiences, and it was quite special to observe and be a part of.

Staying grounded comes from having an awareness that it’s not directly about you and never will be. You didn’t accomplish this feat alone. Having a great foundation of family at home helps. And also understanding that when people boast about the supposed “power” you have, what they really mean is the great “responsibility” you have to the audience, to the craft and most importantly, to yourself. As long as you don’t forget the work you have to do, you won’t go astray.

Continue reading Press: Content Mode Interview

Press: ‘Clemency’ Star Really Did Bang His Head in Key Death Row Prison Scene

Friday, Jan 10, 2020

 

THE WRAP – TheWrap Oscar magazine: “I misjudged my distance, but it was worth it,” the actor says

This story about Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever first appeared in the Actors/Directors/Screenwriters issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

Aldis Hodge had a mission in 2019 for his acting career: to find roles that challenged the status quo. As the calendar turns to 2020, it’s safe to say he accomplished that goal.

At the start of the year, Hodge left audiences at Sundance stunned silent in “Clemency,” Chinonye Chukwu’s jury prize-winning drama about how enforcing the death penalty not only dehumanizes and emotionally destroys the condemned but also takes a spiritual toll on those who carry out the execution. Hodge goes to extremes as death row inmate Anthony Woods, from violently attempting to take his death into his own hands to shutting down completely as the prison warden, played by Alfre Woodard, calmly explains how the state will kill him.

“For Anthony Woods, that scene where he tries to kill himself is the most dignity he could possibly give himself,” Hodge said. “I did seriously hit my head, though. I misjudged my distance, but it was worth it because every audience I’ve seen that scene with has the exact same reaction and they can see what it’s really like in there.”

To prepare for the role, Hodge took a tour of San Quentin with prison inmates serving life sentences. He was shown the execution chamber and the machine used to administer lethal injection but was not allowed to speak with any of the death row inmates. Such isolation factored into Hodge’s performances, as he noted that it is just another way that those sentenced to death are dehumanized.

“There’s differences in how the death row inmates are treated all the way down to their dying breath. Anthony was in that process for 15 years by the time we meet him in the film. One can only imagine how you find faith, hope and belief when you’re sitting there, waiting for death.”

“Clemency” is one of three roles Hodge has taken this year that challenges our society’s sense of justice. He also starred in the true-story drama “Brian Banks” about a former football prospect whose life was destroyed by a false rape accusation. He’s also tackled how racism in the criminal justice system affects those who enforce it in the Showtime series “City on a Hill,” in which he plays a Boston district attorney trying to do seek justice in a power structure dominated by white men.

“I just went with the nature of the roles that crossed my path,” he said. “For me as an actor, I hope to be part of a progressive conversation that challenges how we live our daily lives. These roles sort of lined up and I went with the flow of things, but they’re all roles in stories that I’m proud to be a part of.”

 

 

Gallery/Video: “The Today Show” Appearance

Friday, Dec 13, 2019

 

 

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PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > DEC 10: “THE TODAY SHOW” APPEARANCE

Gallery: Event Updates

Friday, Dec 13, 2019

 

 

 

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PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > NOV 25: 2019 PRINCESS GRACE AWARDS GALA

PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > DEC 2: IFP’S 29TH ANNUAL GOTHAM INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS

PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > DEC 9: “CLEMENCY” NEW YORK SCREENING

PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > DEC 9: VISITING SIRIUSXM

PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > DEC 10: BUZZFEED’S “AM TO DM”

Gallery: HEPA and THR Golden Globe Party and AFI Fest for “Clemency” Premiere

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

 

 

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PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > NOV 14: HFPA AND THR GOLDEN GLOBE AMBASSADOR PARTY – PRESS CONFERENCE

PUBLIC APPEARANCES > 2019 > NOV 17: AFI FEST 2019 PRESENTED BY AUDI – “CLEMENCY” PREMIERE