Tessa Thompson to Star in the sci-fi thriller “Ash”

Tessa Thompson is ready to kick ash

The 38-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress will star opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the sci-fi thriller Ash, which the Grammy-winning musician and filmmaker Flying Lotus — otherwise known as Steven Ellison — will direct as his sophomore feature.

Tessa Thompson,Neill Blomkamp will executive produce the film, which its financier XYZ Films will rep for worldwide sales at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival.

The new film, for which the multi-hyphenate will also compose an original score, watches as a woman (Thompson) wakes up on a distant planet and finds the crew of her space station viciously killed, and must then decide if she can trust the man (Gordon-Levitt) sent to rescue her. But as their investigation into what happened sets in motion a terrifying chain of events, he begins to wonder how innocent she really is.

Jonni Remmler wrote the original screenplay for the film, looking to go into production in New Zealand next year.

It is Flying Lotus’ follow-up to the Sundance-premiering body horror anthology, KusoXYZ Films and GFC Films will produce, with Blomkamp exec producing alongside Echo Lake Entertainment.

“It’s an absolute dream come true to collaborate with some of the most talented actors out there!,” said Flying Lotus.

Thompson is an Emmy– and BAFTA Award-nominated actress and producer who reprised her Marvel role as Valkyrie for the recent Thor: Lover and Thunder, also recently returning for the fourth season of HBO’s Westworld.

Other notable big-screen credits from recent years include Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut Passing, and Prime Video’s Sylvie’s Love, which she also executive produced, as well as SelmaDear White People and the Creed films.

Among Thompson’s upcoming projects is Creed III, which is currently in post-production, with its release set for next March. Her production company Viva Maude is actively in development on projects including Secret Lives of Church LadiesLuster and Who Fears Death.

Ariana DeBose to Appear on Season Four of HBO’s “Westworld”

Ariana DeBose is heading West(world)

The 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress, who won an Oscar for her performance in West Side Story, has joined the cast of HBO’s Westworld as a recurring guest star for the upcoming eight-episode fourth season, which premieres on June 26 and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

Ariana DeBose,DeBose joins returning main cast members Evan Rachel Wood, Emmy winner Thandiwe Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Luke Hemsworth, Aaron Paul and Angela Sarafyan.

Westworld, a dark odyssey about the fate of sentient life on Earth, was created for television by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy, who are executive producers with Alison Schapker, Denise Thé, J.J. Abrams, Athena Wickham, Richard J. Lewis and Ben Stephenson. Production companies: Kilter Films and Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television; based on the film written by Michael Crichton.

Here’s a first look at her character this season:

Ariana DeBose

Colman Domingo Wins Black Reel Awards Trophy for Performance in “Zola”

It’s a Reel special moment for Colman Domingo

Winners of the 22nd Annual Black Reel Awards have been announced, with the 52-year-old Guatemalan American actor among the honorees.

Colman Domingo,Domingo was named Outstanding Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Abegunde “X” Olawale in the black comedy crime film Zola.

Janicza Bravo, who wrote and directed Zola, won the Outstanding Independent Film award for the acclaimed film, which earned the 41-year-old Panamanian American filmmaker two Spirit Awards nods.

It’s his first solo Black Reel Award… He’d previously won alongside his Selma castmates in 2015 in the Best Ensemble category.

Tessa Thompson is celebrating her big win…

The 38-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress was named Outstanding Actress for her work in Passing, a role that previously won her a best actress prize from the Black Film Critics Circle.

Ariana DeBose, who made history with her SAG Awards win over the weekend, continued her winning ways.

The 31-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer/dancer won the award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female for her portrayal of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.

Anthony Ramos won in the Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male category.

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican actor earned the award for his starring role in the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical In The Heights.

Featuring 12 live awards and 5 honorees, and unveiling a new statuette, the ceremony included tributes to films, which made their mark in Black Cinema History.

The month of February concluded fiercely thanks to a fabulous night of black excellence. “It is fitting that as we close Black History Month, this year’s Black Reel Awards continues to spotlight individuals who make cinematic strides,” said Black Reels CEO/Founder, Tim Gordon. “As opportunities increase, both above and below the line, we remain dedicated to shining a light on Black film creatives, while amplifying their voices throughout the industry.”

Here’s the full list of winners:

Outstanding Film | King Richard
Will Smith, Tim White & Trevor White, producers

Outstanding Director
Jeymes Samuel | The Harder They Fall

Outstanding Actor
Will Smith | King Richard

Outstanding Actress
Tessa Thompson | Passing

Outstanding Supporting Actor
Colman Domingo | Zola

Outstanding Supporting Actress
Aunjanue Ellis | King Richard

Outstanding Screenplay
Passing | Rebecca Hall

Outstanding Documentary
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, director

Outstanding Foreign-Language Film
African America (South Africa) | Muzi Mthembu, director

Outstanding Ensemble
The Harder They Fall | Victoria Thomas, casting director

Outstanding Voice Performance
Maya Rudolph | The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Outstanding Score
The Harder They Fall | Jeymes Samuel, composer

Outstanding Original Song
“Automatic Woman” (Bruised)
H.E.R., performer; H.E.R, Van Hunt & Brittany Hazzard, writers

Outstanding Independent Film
Zola | Janicza Bravo, director

Outstanding Short Film
Coffee | Jordan Pitt, director

Outstanding Independent Documentary
100 Years from Mississippi | Tarabu Betserai Kirkland, director

Outstanding Emerging Director
Jeymes Samuel | The Harder They Fall

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male
Anthony Ramos | In the Heights

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female
Ariana DeBose | West Side Story

Outstanding First Screenplay
Passing | Rebecca Hall

Outstanding Cinematography
The Tragedy of Macbeth | Bruno Delbonnel, cinematographer

Outstanding Costume Design
The Harder They Fall | Antoinette Messam, costume designer

Outstanding Editing
The Harder They Fall | Tom Eagles, editor

Outstanding Production Design
The Tragedy of Macbeth | Stefan Dechant, production designer

Tessa Thompson Named Best Actress by Black Film Critics Circle

Tessa Thompson is earning praise for her latest role…

The Black Film Critics Circle has awarded the 38-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress its best actress prize.

Tessa Thompson, PassingThompson earned the award for her powerhouse performance in Passing. It’s her second best actress prize of the awards season so far for her work in the film. The other recognition came from the New York Film Critics, Online.

Thompson had previously won the critics’ group’s best supporting actress award in 2015 for her work in Creed.

Along with recognizing films in 13 categories, the group also gave the Pioneer Award to Zola co-writer and director Janicza Bravo.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Picture: “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Director: Denis Villeneuve, “Dune” (Warner Bros)
Actor: Will Smith, “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Actress: Tessa Thompson, “Passing” (Netflix)
Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Original Screenplay: Zach Baylin, “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Adapted Screenplay: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Cinematography: Greig Fraser, “Dune” (Warner Bros)
Documentary: “Summer of Soul” (Hulu/Searchlight Pictures)
Animated Film: “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” (Netflix)
Foreign Film: “The Hand of God” (Netflix)
Ensemble: “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix) 

BFCC Signature Awards
Pioneer Award:
Janicza Bravo, “Zola” (A24)
Rising Star: Jeymes Samuel, “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)
Special Mention: Questlove

Top 10 Films
“King Richard” (Warner Bros)
“The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)
“The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
“West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)
“Respect” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
“Summer of Soul” (Searchlight Pictures)
“Dune” (Warner Bros)
“The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24)
“Cyrano” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
“Passing” (Netflix)

Tessa Thompson to Help Present $1 Million in Scholarships at The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Women in Entertainment Gala

Tessa Thompson is helping the next generation of women in entertainment

The 38-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress will appear alongside Jennifer Garner at The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment gala to shine a spotlight on THR’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program.

Tessa Thompson,Garner and Thompson will present high school students with nearly $1 million in university scholarships to graduates of the mentorship program, which pairs the best and brightest high school girls from underserved communities in the Los Angeles area with top-level female executives, lawyers and agents.

The mentorship program is a joint venture between THR and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles.

Past mentors have included Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke, Imax Entertainment president Megan Colligan, Netflix vp content Bela Bajaria and Disney TV StudiosABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden.

More than 200 girls and 200 mentors have taken part in the program, with the mentees going on to universities including Harvard, UC Berkeley and UCLA, supported by $10 million in scholarships raised by THR.

The gala coincides with the release of THR’s annual Women in Entertainment issue (on newsstands December 8), which highlights the Power 100, the leading female executives in entertainment.

Tessa Thompson’s Viva Maude Partners with Gaumont to Develop Raven Leilani’s Novel “Luster” for HBO

Tessa Thompson is celebrating her luster

Gaumont has teamed up with the 38-year-old half-Afro-Panamanian and part Mexican American actress’ Viva Maude production company to develop for HBO Luster, the bestselling debut by Raven Leilani.

Tessa Thompson,

Scripting the project will be handled by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, and Lileana Blain-Cruz, recipient of the Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award. They are joint winners of the Obie Award for Marys Seacole, and are among the founders of the exploratory theatre collaboration, Afrofemononomy.

Edie is a young Black artist living a precarious existence in New York City when she takes a white lover in an open marriage, eventually moving in with him and his wife in the suburbs. There she not only finds herself in an increasingly tense relationship with the couple, but also becoming an unlikely mentor to their adopted Black daughter Akila. The debut novel quickly became a number one bestseller on the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and other lists.

Raven Leilani's Novel "Luster"

The potential English language drama series for HBO marks the first collaboration between Gaumont and Viva Maude’s Thompson and Kishori Rajan.

Nicolas Atlan, President of Gaumont US said company toppers are “beyond thrilled to be developing Luster with HBO and Viva Maude’s Tessa Thompson and Kishori Rajan. We were riveted by this groundbreaking book, written by the incredibly talented Raven Leilani, and are blown away at how quickly the series creative team which includes our writers, Lileana Blain-Cruz and Jackie Sibblies Drury, has come together. We can’t wait to get started.”

It’s not clear at this point if Thompson will star. She has a strong relationship with HBO from Westworld. She is generating awards buzz for the Sundance hit Passing, and wrapped the lead role of Valkyrie in the Taiki Waititi film Thor: Love and Thunder.

Said Thompson of the book: “Luster marks the daring debut by Raven Leilani, a seminal voice for her generation. In her work, which defies categorization, there is an astonishingly singular quality that speaks to spirit of the types of narratives Viva Maude aims to showcase — bold, beautifully crafted, unapologetically human, imaginative and unconventional — it is thrilling to be teamed with Gaumont and the stunning talents of Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lileana Blain-Cruz to develop this story at HBO, the perfect home.”

Swizz Beatz to Be Honored at This Year’s Ebony Power 100 Event

Swizz Beatz has the Power (100)

The 43-year-old half-Puerto Rican recording artist, music producer and entrepreneur will be among the honorees at this year’s Ebony Power 100 event on October 23 in Los Angeles.

Swizz Beatz

Ebony – the American title championing Black voices and culture since its inception in 1945 – is recognizing “the outstanding leaders across a variety of fields and disciplines from business, sports, media, activism, music to entertainment and more,” according to a press statement.

Honorees were categorized by discipline, in such categories as music impact, entertainment powerhouse, NextGen, ceiling breaker and breakthrough creators. In addition, a few individuals have received special awards for their contributions to the community.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland will be honored under music impact category for creating Verzuz.

MJ Rodriguez, the 30-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer, who earned an Emmy nomination for her work on FX’s Pose, and Tessa Thompson, the 38-year-old half-Afro-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress/singer, are being recognized in the entertainment powerhouse category.

“From grassroots organizers to the arts and entertainment to the corporate boardrooms, we are very excited to shine a light on these amazing people because no one can celebrate Black excellence quite like Ebony,” said Michele Ghee, CEO of Ebony, in a statement.

Here’s the complete list of honorees.  The individual awards are listed first.

Corporate citizen award: Marc Pritchard, Damon Jones and Stephanie Headley of P&G
Entertainer of the year award: Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris, Red Table Talk
Game changer of the year: Deion Sanders
Innovator of the year: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett
Rising star award: Storm Reid
Trailblazer award: MC Lyte

Breakthrough creators: Nae Nae Twins, Coodie & Chike, Brandice Daniel, Chad Easterling, Imani Ellis, Brandon Pankey, Demetria Lucas, Patrick “Fresh” Henry, Law Roach and Misha Green

Ceiling breaker: Thasunda Brown Duckett, Rosetta Bryson, Rashida Jones, Harvey Mason Jr., Fawn Weaver, Miriam Vales, Karine Jean-Pierre, Letitia “Tish” James and Melanie Boulden

Community builder: Regina Jackson, Trae the Truth, Missionary Ellen K. Clark, Eunique Jones Gibson, Emil Wilbekin, Alice Marie Johnson, Dr. Kendell Jasper and Kainon Jasper, Brandon McEachern, Darryl Perkins and Marcus Allen and Deon T. Jones

Entertainment powerhouse: Andra Day, Regé-Jean Page, Anthony Mackie, MJ Rodriguez, Liesl Tommy, Tessa Thompson and John David Washington

Excellence in journalism: Don Lemon, Abby Phillip, Charles Blow, Tamron Hall, W. Kamau Bell, Tomi Adeyemi, Ebro Darden and Nischelle Turner

Game changer: Shaquille O’ Neal, Francis Ngannou, Lewis Hamilton, Sydney Michelle McLaughlin, Stephen A. Smith, Brehanna Daniels and Maya Moore

Innovation leader: Beatrice Dixon, Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant, Isaac Hayes III, Joy Buolamwini, MC Hammer, Dr. Patrice A. Harris, Dr. Angela D. Reddix, Tanya Van Court and Arlan Hamilton

Music impact: Big Freedia, Erica Campbell, Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Derrick “D- Nice” Jones, Lil Baby, Questlove, Joi Brown, Jeanine McLean-Williams, Rapsody, Anderson .Paak and Travis Scott

NextGen: Nicolas Johnson, Noah Harris, Nia DaCosta, Cheick Camara, Chloe & Halle Bailey Jon Moody, Ermias Tadesse, Zaila Avant-garde and Amanda Gorman

Social justice champion: Rep. Cori Bush, the CROWN Coalition (Kelli Richardson Lawson, Esi Eggleston Bracey, Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, Adjoah B. Asamoah and Senator Holly J. Mitchell), Erica Ford, Darnella Frazier, Nikole Hannah- Jones, Shaun King, Keith Meadows, Brittany Packnett and Senator Raphael Warnock

Matthew López’s “The Bodyguard” Remake to Feature a Latina Starlet

Matthew López is planning to bring a Latina twist to his The Bodyguard redo.

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican playwright and screenwriter is remaking the 1992 romantic thriller, which originally starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

Matthew Lopez

But this time, the film will feature a brand-new storyline about an overnight Latina sensation.

López, the history making Tony Award-winning playwright of The Inheritance who will be writing the new film, tells Variety that he wants a Latina to front the project.

Unlike Houston, who portrayed Oscar-nominated actress and high-profile singer Rachel Marron dodging death threats and a stalker in the film, the new female lead of The Bodyguard will play an up-and-coming singer who realizes how much she needs protection after growing into her fame.

“It’s so much fun. When Warner Bros. approached me about the idea, I quickly said I would but I wanted the protagonist to be Latina. They agreed to that,” he said. “There’s been a lot of speculation about what I’d bring to the remake and some people were assuming that there’d be a gay storyline to it. Instead of focusing on an established star like the one Whitney Houston played, this is about a young Latina performer who has just become famous. It’s about how her life has changed because she is an overnight sensation. In the 21st century, that means she’s in immediate need of protection. It was important to me to use this opportunity to get Latin faces up on that screen and to get their stories told in a big way.”

Variety initially reported that Afro-Latina superstars Cardi B and Tessa Thompson were suggested for the film, to respectively go alongside Channing Tatum and Chris Hemsworth.

No official casting information has been publicly released.

Netflix Releases Trailer for Tessa Thompson’s Black & White Drama “Passing”

Tessa Thompson is passing the time…

Netflix has released the official trailer for Rebecca Hall’s period drama Passing, starring the 37-year-old Afro-Panamanian actress and producer and Ruth Negga.

Tessa Thompson, Passing

Hall, making her directorial debut, adapted the film from the 1929 novel by Nella Larson.

Netflix is preparing for the film’s New York Film Festival premiere on October 3, after which it will get a theatrical release followed by a debut on the streaming service on November 10.

The film, shot it black and white, tells the story of two Black women, Irene Redfield (Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Negga), who can “pass” as white but choose to live on opposite sides of the color line during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York.

After a chance encounter, Irene reluctantly allows Clare into her home, where she ingratiates herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and family, and soon her larger social circle as well. Irene soon finds her once-steady existence upended by Clare, and the story becomes one of obsession, repression and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities.

Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy and Alexander Skarsgard also star in the film, which is produced by Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker, Margot Hand and Hall.

Netflix competed in a field of five bidders to win rights to Passing in a $15 million deal during the Sundance Film Festival.

Its release is timed to the now-underway movie awards season.

Salma Hayek to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Salma Hayek will have a permanent place in Hollywood

The 54-year-old Mexican Oscar-nominated actress and producer is among the 38 honorees invited to join the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Salma Hayek

Hayek, who moved to Hollywood in 1991, rose to acclaim in films like Desperado and From Dusk till Dawn. She earned an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in Frida.

But Hayek isn’t the only Latin honoree this year…

Tessa Thompson was selected in the Motion Picture category.

The 37-year-old Afro-Panamanian American actress gained mainstream recognition for her starring role as Valkyrie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero films Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame.

Her other credits include Sylvie’s Love, Men in Black: International, and Creed.

Ashanti has been selected in the Recording category.

The 40-year-old part-Dominican American Grammy-winning singer and actress was first discovered as a teenager and later signed to Murder Inc. Records in 2002.

That year, she was featured on Fat Joe‘s “What’s Luv?” and Ja Rule‘s “Always on Time,” both of which became two of the biggest hit songs of 2002; Ashanti became the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously when “Foolish” and “What’s Luv?” were at numbers one and two, respectively.

Other Latin artists selected include Los Huracanes Del Norte and Angelica Vale.

These honorees were chosen from among hundreds of nominees at a meeting of the Walk of Fame selection committee and ratified by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors this week. Radio personality Ellen K, chair of the selection committee (and a past Walk of Fame honoree), announced the new honorees on the Walk of Fame’s website.

The selection panel, made up of fellow Walk of Famers, handpicks a group of honorees each year that represent various genres of the entertainment world. “The panel did an amazing job choosing these very talented people,” said Ellen K. “We can’t wait to see each honoree’s reaction as they realize that they are becoming a part of Hollywood’s history with the unveiling of their star on the world’s most famous walkway.”

Dates have not been scheduled for these star ceremonies. Recipients have two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before their selection expires. Upcoming star ceremonies are usually announced 10 days prior to dedication on the Walk of Fame website.

Here’s the full list of Hollywood Walk of Fame Class of 2022 honorees (using their full names as shown on their list):

Recording: Black Eyed Peas, George E. Clinton Jr., Ashanti Douglas, DJ Khaled, Avril Lavigne, Los Huracanes Del Norte, Martha Reeves and Ermias Asghedom (Nipsey Hussle, posthumous).

Motion pictures: Francis Ford Coppola, Macaulay Culkin, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, James Hong, Helen Hunt, Michael B. Jordan, Regina King, Ray Liotta, Ewan McGregor, Adam McKay, Jason Momoa, Tessa Thompson and Carrie Fisher (posthumous)

Television: Byron Allen, Greg Berlanti, Ricky Gervais, Peter Krause, Robert Odenkirk, Holly Robinson-Peete, Norman Reedus, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jean Smart, Ming-Na Wen and Kenan Thompson.

Live theatre/live performance: Patti LuPone, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. and Angelica Vale

Radio: Richard Blade

Sports entertainment: Michael Strahan