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Where Are They Now? #4 – Christopher Cherot

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On my previous blog, I posted a milk carton alert for Christopher Scott Cherot last summer, and I’m simply reposting here, along with every update I’ve received since then, since Mr Cherot is apparently still at large.

So, read my lengthy missive below.

This is a snippet of the initial post, from June 2008:

Hav Plenty, his 1997 debut, was picked up by Miramax (when it was still run by the Weinsteins), with the help of Baby Face and Traci Edmonds, who saw the film at the then Acapulco Black Film Festival and loved it, carrying it on to the Toronto Film Festival when Miramax signed on as its distributor, providing some completion funds before taking it to the 1998 Sundance film festival. I loved the movie when I saw it and still do, despite its obvious non-existent budget look, questionable acting, and shitty soundtrack – although the music score wasn’t his doing… Babyface and Traci fucked it up as far as I’m concerned, which is my one major complaint about the movie. They apparently thought that cheesy R&B tracks were best suited for the content. I disagreed then and still do now! The film had a wonderful charm and wry humor about it that won me over, despite its flaws, and it sits comfortably in my DVD collection.

The last film Cherot directed was a silly soap opera called G., released in 2005, which I did see and didn’t like at all. It was a retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, hence the title G., starring Richard T Jones, Blair Underwood, amongst others, and was described as a “Gatsbyesque love story set against Hip-Hop’s invasion of the Hamptons.” It was simply NOT a good movie, and I was disappointed in the effort by Mr Cherot, who co-wrote the screenplay based on a story by, of all people, Andrew Lauren (fashion Icon Ralph Lauren’s son), who also produced the film.

According to IMDB, Cherot has worked on some short films since G., although not his short films, but rather acting as either an actor, editor, or producer. He also directed one episode of BET’s reality TV series, College Hill, in 2004.

I couldn’t find very much on Christopher Cherot. Not even a decent picture! Just a few mentions here and there, mostly in articles about Black cinema. Here’s a poignant snippet of an interview he did in 1998 with IndieWire Magazine, just after the theatrical release of Hav Plenty:

IndieWire: How do you think this film is going to help your career?
Cherot: I think that Hav Plenty has done what it can do for my career, which is open the door. Whether people like it or don’t like it, it’s established me as a filmmaker. And will afford me an opportunity to continue to function as filmmaker and make more films. I don’t really see it as a career-maker, but I definitely don’t see it as a career-breaker either. I think it’s a stepping stone towards higher and better things. Given the resources that I had, I think I did the best job I could do with “Hav Plenty.” However, I do not think it is the best thing that I have inside of me.

About a month later, in July 2008, I posted an update based on a comment a reader made on the initial post:

UPDATE: Yesterday, reader Naoe posted a comment with a link to a press release from July detailing Mr Cherot’s current adventures – a film called The Untitled Bathroom Project, described as a “don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover comedy about one woman’s unforgettable experience in a ladies’ bathroom.” I’m assuming it’s a feature-length production, but the press release doesn’t say.

The film, which will be funded with “financial support from family, friends, colleagues and business associates,” is set to begin shooting this fall, under the umbrella of 2 newly formed indie production shingles – Apphia Productions, created by Délé Ogundiran and NeW•YiLLy Entertainment run by Adenrele Ojo – both Los Angeles-based movie producers.

No other info was provided, but you can read the entire press release here: Untitled Bathroom Project.

I still can’t find anything on the so-called “Untitled Bathroom Project.” There’s nothing that looks like it on his IMDB resume.

And that’s the last I’ve heard about Christopher Scott Cherot. I was able to find the website for a 2009 short film he co-stars in titled, Layla, about an Afghan drug smuggling ring. From the looks of it, it seems like he plays one of the bad guys! I found the below 1-minute clip of the short on YouTube. See if you can spot him. You can see the full trailer (which isn’t “embed-able,” as well as numerous stills of the film on the production company’s website: http://www.lanecity.com/layla.html

12 comments to Where Are They Now? #4 – Christopher Cherot

  • Sergio

    About 8 years ago or so I had dinner with Cherot, a then up-and-coming Nicole Ari Parker and a film producer friend of mine Marty Jones and I still remember Cherot having us in stitches recounting funny stories and giving his uncensored opinions about other black directors. I thought back then he was destined to be a major player, but alas it was not to be.

    That dinner was also memorable because the very next day I suffered a ruptured appendix and wound up spending almost a week in the hospital. I’ve always wondered if Cherot was responsible. And I didn’t think G was THAT bad

    • George

      LOL brother I was at that dinner too and another girl I knew named Tiff, it was at the Chicago Film Festival in 2000. I haven’t thought about that in YEARS!!!!! I remember somebody getting up and leaving for a screening, maybe that was you, brother…… Anyway there was six of us at dinner and Cherot has us dyin laughing, I thought he was a stand up comic or something, because I hadn’t seen Hav Plenty at that point. Later he and Nicole Ari Parker went off someplace, which was interesting because I saw him later having dinner with Halle Berry. (this was before her oscar.) He was living the life thats for sure. Thanks for the memory my brother, the festival scene just isn’t the same these days, maybe it’s the economy.

  • Gaston

    Funny that he still looks just about the same in the clip as he did 10 years ago. Like he hasn’t aged much.

    He seemed like a cool dude, level headed and all that. I too thought he’d make it much further in the biz. He must be doing some other side jobs. Or maybe he owns a company or something. He’s got to be surviving somehow. And if it’s not film, it’s got to be some other thing.

    “G” wasn’t a good movie. It wasn’t as bad as “Obsessed” but I tell you. I laughed a lot which isn’t good for a dramatic movie like it.

  • jakaranda

    I was just searching for chris cherot and found your post on your old site which led me to this site. I thought I was the only person wondering about him. I just watched hav plenty for a thesis paper I’m researching on those buppie movies from the 90s to early 2000. I’d be happy to share it with you all after I’m through.

  • cuse

    Unlike you mister tambay “hav plenty” never really did much for me. I actually found it kind of annoying. I think it’s its “I’m so cute and quirky” vibe. That’s what I got from it anyway. And like you said, the acting wasn’t very good. Chenoa maxwell is a beautiful woman, but she left me cold as the lead.

    “G” wasn’t good either, but surprisingly I liked it more than “hav plenty.” Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t very good but I appreciated the attempt that was made.

    Oh and andrew lauren wrote and produced it? Wow. Who knew.

  • Madame Zenobia

    I agree with you^^^ that Chenoa is beautiful, but during both Hav Plenty and G I couldn’t stop looking at her MAN-HANDS. Seriously…they were distracting :(

    I loved Hav Plenty…well parts of it; wish it could’ve been tweaked; wish he could’ve had a bigger budget for the film. Glad he starred as I liked his character. G is comparable to Obsession??? Umm, yeah I have to agree, but at least this remake was of a much better classic, in my opinion. LOL

  • This, to me, gets right to the issue with black film today. Here we all are, ‘Waiting for Cherot”, when his movies aren’t all that great to begin with. It’s not like he’s Terrence Malick or something. I’d say to a person we’re all more curious as to why he hasn’t made more movies than we are anxious to see what’s next.

    For all the black filmmakers I respect, follow and emulate, from William Greaves to Spike Lee, I’d say my primary, if not only attachment to them has to do with them being black.

    Historically, black success in so many other fields comes from a talent so acute that it couldn’t be denied. There’s no Lorraine Hansberry or Langston Hughes or Jackie Robinson or Michael Jackson. There’s no MLK. There’s no Barack Obama. There’s no Jessye Norman. No Daniel Hale Williams. We have Spike and a handful of others we remember because we thought they might be on the vanguard of something that has yet to materialize — whether we liked their movies or not.

    Even taking into account the unique difficulties with film, I’d say we’re definitely still looking for that person. On the one hand the fact that we all, myself included, latch onto movies like Hav Plenty, more known for their soundtracks than anything else, shows us that we may be looking for a while. On the other, forums like this one and the gradual leveling of the Hollywood playing field (very gradual, but it’s happening), gives me reason to be optimistic.

  • One update in CSC’s credits here: he was also a Producer on the first season of College Hill. I remember that vividly because I sat through one episode just to say I watched it, only to find during the credits that that he both directed it (maybe the only one though?) and was a producer as well, which made me sit through another episode for fan purposes only. IMDB, for whatever reason during the past year or so, REALLY jacks up people’s TV credits even listing that certain people only appeared in 5 episodes of a show when I personally saw them appear on at least 22. TV nerd knowledge aside, he obviously got paid decently from that production.

    One more thing, at :48 seconds into the trailer, is a giga-second of Reginald James, who played Felix in…you guessed it, Hav Plenty.

    (I know a bit too much about Hav Plenty.)

    I’m waaayy in the minority here, but ‘Hav Plenty’ remains a favorite of mine, and I liked ‘G’ as well – a film that wasn’t my any means perfect, but I don’t think was supposed to be taken ultra-seriously as well – but that’s obviously just my opinion. Maybe my seeing it on the big screen made a difference, I dunno.

    Couple of ‘Hav Plenty’ questions for y’all:

    @ Tambay – What was so bad about the soundtrack? IMO, the Faith song ‘Cry No More’ supremely added to the drama near the end, as did the Changing Faces song “What I’ve Been Missing.” The Jayo Felony beat that played during the beginning title credits worked nicely as well. Did you see it sans the pre-Babyface soundtrack?

    @ cuse – RE: its “I’m so cute and quirky” vibe.
    Not sure if you peeped this when it first came out or years later, but this film was so raw there wasn’t much cuteness to it. It wasn’t as clean as the previous year’s ‘Love Jones’, but not as forced or buppie-fied. Your opinion is yours of course, I just don’t catch that angle.

  • @ Curtis – some of the songs themselves weren’t bad as standalone songs for the radio or my iPod (I guess it was my walkman back then); but they were just wrong for the movie I thought. Every track dominated the scenes in which they were played, taking me temporarily out of the film each time. Whoever laid them out could use a lesson in subtlety.

    I didn’t see the film pre-Babyface soundtrack. I wish I did though. And I haven’t been able to find out what it was like.

  • kid video

    I read this post last week and it made me want to see it again the other day…

    It’s still holds up…especially the “celebrity ending”.

    Orson Welles is really only known for one film also.

  • dr feelgood

    i think i just saw that dude two weeks ago with one of the guys from heroes at Luna park in la….. did not say anything to him but weird thing is he looks JUST like he did in the movie ten years ago….hmmmm that may not be a good thing.

  • Anthony E

    CSC well oddly enough he shot G I think in ’99 or ’00 but it sat on the shelf for a great while. I thought it was great. Possibly because I loved Hav Plenty and followed the progress of G, a friend of mine went to a screening at a fest.

    Now that same fest had a short he directed, co-starred in and co-wrote. It was pretty funny and went because he was to be in person. Then as it was all done, they said he was ill and was there but left.

    The other short he directed shows sometimes on Showtime and also gives you a bit of a chuckle.
    He also directed College Hill the first season I believe…

    NOW one of the last things he had done. This is somewhat of an odd credit but a credit none the less. He was an Editor, he edited every other episode for the Television series that aired on LOGO entitled NOAH’s ARC. I am a big fan so I bought the first season because it was CSC.
    The odd bit of trivia lies in why he did it.
    While he was at a fest promoting HAV PLENTY. The creator for NOAH’s ARC was also there showing his film (first feature) PUNKS (still not released anywhere, same with Cappucino, an amazing black film noir masterpiece epic of a low budget film). So BABYFACE had produced or ghost produced PUNKS. The Director of PUNKS, Patrik Ian Polk, had witnessed HAV PLENTY and went to BABYFACE. Mr. Polk told him he had to see it and thus brought it to his attention. So without PUNKS director Mr. Polk, there would have never been Babyface involvement in HAV PLENTY and he would have never brought it to the Weinsteins (Miramax at the time). So to return the favor CSC edited every other edited for him on Season 1 on NOAH’s ARC.