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Watch 2 Clips From “Frankie & Alice” + AFI Conversation w/ Halle Berry On Acting

Well, still no trailer yet for Halle Berry’s Oscar hopeful, Frankie & Alice, despite the fact that the film opens in New York and Los Angeles in less than a month. Though I suspect we’ll see one soon enough. In the meantime, below are 2 very recently-released clips from the film, which I stumbled across on YouTube.

I’m not sure why a more formal announcement wasn’t made regarding the availability of these clips, which YouTube says were uploaded on the 18th – last week Thursday. A quick Google search revealed that practically no film websites are carrying the clips, meaning that most likely don’t know that they exist.

Anyway, here they are… your first real look at Halle in action; although, in both clips, we’re only given her performance as Frankie; we don’t get to see her white, racist other personality, Alice.

Also, in addition to both clips, I’ve embedded 3 short videos from Halle’s recent AFI Film Festival conversation, which happened about 1 1/2 weeks ago, where Frankie & Alice was screened. As you will see, all 3 clips are labeled according to what’s contained within each (she talks about playing “tortured characters,” playing Dorothy Dandridge, and, of course, Frankie & Alice).

Clip #1:

Clip #2:

AFI conversation… on playing tortured characters:

On Frankie & Alice:

On playing Dorothy Dandridge:

46 comments to Watch 2 Clips From “Frankie & Alice” + AFI Conversation w/ Halle Berry On Acting

  • Marissa

    People know they exist they just don’t care about this fake woman and her mediocre acting anymore LOL! Halle is full of it and everyone knows it. I cant wait for this to bomb and get snubbed when the Oscar nominations are announcement it’ll be a major blow to inflated ego.

  • Sergio

    The first film I make I’m going to cast Halle (with plenty of sex and nudity) just to piss Marissa off

  • Zeus

    LMAO @Jay and Sergio :)

    Pathetic isn’t it. :)

  • DGAS

    I have a fascination with MPD so definitely looking forward to Frankie & Alice and also seeing Halle on the big screen again.

  • Jug

    My issue with what she’s saying is it equates emoting or cursing with good acting. Good acting, true, honest acting is not necessarily about emoting. Crying on cue and all that nonsense. A lot of actors are drawn to “tortured” characters because they get to cry & yell & kick & scream & the audience wets the bed saying “WOW! Look how good they are..THEY’RE ACTING THEIR ASS OFF!” (insert Tyler Perry movies here). But honest truthful acting is much more than that. It’s deeper, simpler & more revelatory about the human condition than just the bells & whistles. Watch the movie version of WIT, with Emma Thompson. A BEAST of a performance, in a movie that easily coulda been a Lifetime movie with people crying & yelling all over the place but no real truth. Or Don Cheadle killing it as Sammy Davis Jr. in The Rat Pack for HBO. Had all the makings of a cheesy Behind the Music, because it dealt with an iconic figure. But it wasn’t, it was true-not necessarily factual-but True.

    Truth doesn’t just make you feel, it changes you. It resonates an understanding that crosses all boundaries, even when you try to ignore it. Often, the visual signs of truth (crying, etc) are anything but, it’s a shell game.

    You may argue I’m comparing apples & oranges, but hey they’re still fruit, & good fruit is good fruit-period. Not sold on the whole “I’m good because I said fuck with ‘conviction’ school of acting”

    • @ JUG, enough about Halle, but my man, the following spoke loud and clear.

      “Look how good they are..THEY’RE ACTING THEIR ASS OFF!” (insert Tyler Perry movies here). But honest truthful acting is much more than that. It’s deeper, simpler & more revelatory about the human condition than just the bells & whistles”

      Jug, you made my day. Your words, yet, my exact thoughts!

      You continued… “Truth doesn’t just make you feel, it changes you. It resonates an understanding that crosses all boundaries, even when you try to ignore it. Often, the visual signs of truth (crying, etc) are anything but, it’s a shell game”

      Bingo! Bravo!

      On a side note (but related) I’ve come to the conclusion that American actors (with the exception of Meryl Streep) have the least skills (training) of any actors in the world. Many of them are not acting, they’re simply emoting.

      Some may not like what I am about to say but… There is not a black American actress that I would put in my top 100 actresses of the world. And, given enough time, I possibly could stretch that to 150!

      • Kathryn

        Sophie Okonedo, Kimberly Elise, Naomie Harris, Ruby Dee, Lonette McKee, Audra McDonald, Viola Davis, Lisa Hamilton – the list goes on. These are some fierce actresses that stand up to any of the top 100-150 to which you may be referring. Considering black actresses do not get the choice of meatier roles that their white counterparts do, perhaps you have not been given the opportunity to see the talents of great black actresses. Give any of the actresses I mention above one of the roles that are bestowed upon Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton and the like, and I guarantee they would shine. But alas, there is still a great divide in Hollywood when it comes to giving black actresses meaningful work and the chance to succeed as well as fail and subsequently learn and grow – black actresses aren’t given that luxury.

        • Kat, surely you jest?!

          First, Sophie Okonedo is not an American.

          Kimberly Elise can mail in her performances. I mean, she will continue being the same tired, passive, sadden, frightened, down trotten black women. Any C- actress can cry. Oh, but she was great in Diary Of A Mad Black Woman, right? Lets laugh together.

          Lonette McKee? Next.

          Audra Mcdonald has not been in a movie since 2003, and it’s doubtful you know what that is.

          Now, if you’re talking about the Lisa Hamilton that was in Honeydrippers, you’re not talking the top 100, are you?

          Quick, we need a old, cantakerous, mean spirited black woman to play the part of a slave, go get Esther Rolle or Ruby Dee. Kathryn, Ruby Dee might play to your heart, but she is not in the top 100. You did see her over the top performance in American Ganster… didn’t you?

          You’re list is a list of “names” and personalities, not a list of actresses that belong in the top 100.

          • But I’ll meet you half-way. Start your list @ 50. You know, like 51, 52, 53…

            • Kathryn

              CareyCarey – didn’t know your list was for American’s only — you said in the world so I thought you were actually including the world. My bad. Anyway, you are a hot mess! You actually made me chuckle.

              • Kathryn, you’re my kind of women. You have laughter in your heart.

                “Anyway, you are a hot mess,[CareyCarey]!”

                Thank you!

                There’s a television commercial by the manufacturer of work clothes, in which they try to promote their clothing as something a person can wear off the job. Their motto is “Who says you have to work in them”

                Well, I’m going to jump on their jock… “Who says you have to be super serious all the time”

                You show me a person that can’t laugh, and I’ll show you a boring son-of-a-buck.

                So yeah, sometimes at my home, sometimes at a blog, sometimes gracelessly fleeing the common opinions of others; and sometimes seeming, for anyone that didn’t know me, I could be preceived as a hot mess, so it’s all good. :-)

                I like whistling while I work. And you provided a perfect vehicle for me to do just that.

                But oh lawd, I see I have a few more challengers. Jug and 3dognights are night are knocking at my door. I better go see what they want while I load my pistol. :-)

      • Jug

        So you KNOW you’re gonna catch hell on here for that right LOL But seriously, I disagree with you completely that Americans are the least skilled actors in the world. There are a good many black actresses who bring the heat (and a bunch that don’t). There are two problems, the first which Kathryn touched on briefly, is that these actresses aren’t hired for the meaty roles a Streep or Kidman gets (call me when Audra McDonald-4 Tony Awards-gets to do Terms of Endearment, Silkwood or The Hours) because often those projects aren’t written with blacks in mind because of the tones/periods that Hollywood caters too. A sweeping epic set during the fall of Rome isn’t likely to see Denzel sitting on the throne next to Viola Davis. And while we’re at it, let’s stop saying Hollywood is racist. Hollywood is a half blind sheep dog chasing its own tail. It’s the viewing public that has the issue, because trust me, Hollywood puts those in movies they think people want to see & who will make the most money-period. Will Smith can have a show but 50 Cent can’t. Is it racism, Hell No. Most white people are’t going to watch 50 Cent & neither is my 65 year old black mother. Cost benefit analysis. If it really was Jim Crow south, there’d be no Denzel, Sidney Poitier or Halle Berry getting Oscars. Don’t believe the hype that Hollywood has to cave to some pressure from the NAACP. Evey year the NAACP is complaining that there isn’t enough color on tv & in film. What changes that, your remote-which means your wallet. Someone has to have the balls to break the chicken or the egg syndrome & have a love affair with seeing black faces in widespread rotation, & judging by the economics of movie making, it won’t be Hollywood (see only one Will Smith). But maybe I’m wrong, Angela Bassett (however folks feel about her) is doing an ABC pilot playing NY’s first black & first female commissioner. Things they are achanging…

        Second, and most importantly, film/tv by nature tends to foster wrote, lazy (bad) acting. It just does. When the camera does all the work for you, with an amazing score, 3-D glasses, multiple takes, creative-if not computer created-camera angles, it’s no wonder that most actors just “show up” (yes, even foreign actors). But the really good ones move past that & know that they have to show up creatively day in & day out. They have to be present & truthful, not just when they get to the “big emotional scene” or the “You Complete Me” scene. It’s in the “riding the bus” scene or “bathing the child you secretly resent” scene or the “I’m marrying you but I don’t know why” scene.

        Black Actresses, and by extension American actors, can do that & have been doing it quite well since the medium was invented. I won’t throw the baby out with the bath water, but I will call out the art form I love so it can get back to form & have some respect.

        • Kathryn

          Jug – agree with you 100% – Hollywood is about the box office and advertising dollars. After years in the biz, I finally get it. Sometimes us creative types turn a blind eye to the business side of things for better or worse. Tyler Perry’s success shed light on that – as long as folks come out in droves to see his projects and others of the ilk, those are the type of projects that will be greenlit. The chitlin’ circuit done gone Hollywood, it’s a moneymaker. It ain’t racism, it ain’t personal, it’s economics.

        • “So you KNOW you’re gonna catch hell on here for that right”

          Yes sir jug, I knew I was walking on thin ice. I had a feeling that I left my back door open, and you stepped off in my ass. Surely I knew that you would do your homework and then light a fire under my behind. When you hit me with something I already knew… “(call me when Audra McDonald-4 Tony Awards-gets to do Terms of Endearment, Silkwood or The Hours)” I knew the game was on.

          But wait, all good-bye is not gone. I tried to pull MsWoo into this exact type of conversation over at her “FCG in the UK post”. Your analysis of what-when-why and how-come black American actresses are not exposed, are valid points. However, after reading them, there’s several counter-points on the table.

          Consequently, I have to go to a quiet place because you’re working me. I know I can’t come up in here half-steppin.

          But, before I return, here’s something to think about… Your words: “because often those projects aren’t written with blacks in mind because of the tones/periods that Hollywood caters too. A sweeping epic set during the fall of Rome isn’t likely to see Denzel sitting on the throne next to Viola Davis”

          Ut oh, now we’re going somewhere. Again, I tried to broach this subject with MsWoo, but she went to the land of “possibilities”. She hit me with “now we have a black president”. I say, yeah, but it took ninty thousand years to get here.

          Anyway, I am getting somewhat off subject, but I’ll be back.

          But I have to see why 3DawnNight is waving her arms at the bottom of this page. I’ll have to go down in the basement and give her a good pimp-slappin’.

          • Jug

            Hilarious! Yeah I love a good spirited debate. I’m with you on so many levels. I’m in the biz & when I first started, I was all “HOLLYWOOD IS RACIST” blah blah blah. Until I started working at production companies & at studios/networks & started seeing the real. Minorities are an afterthought-period. Black, Asian, Latino, handicapped (Native American is a “never” thought). We just don’t factor in until it’s time. Boris & Gugu were afterthoughts for UNDERCOVERS, they didn’t set out to hire black actors. If anything, I believe they hired Gugu & then said “Wow, what if we hire a black male to be her husband”. Just too bad the show sucked & the leads were quite boring (although Boris was muuuch better than I thought he was going to be, even decent. I felt Gugu was the weak link-but I’m off topic). For me, what I realize, is that it’s US, the audience, that needs to change. We won’t get those HOURS like movies until we stop accepting wholesale the films like Lottery Ticket & Madea (don’t hate me, I love Players Club LOL). But that’s ALL we patronize, that & sci-fi movies. So Hollywood won’t start thinking about us in that vein until we say NO MORE.

            I don’t like this crap that Hollywood foists on us, but I’m starting to respect the beast for what it is, & dealing accordingly.

            • Ha! This is what I was saying in the “debate” Carey refrenced. A paradigm shift. Not just with filmmakers but with film-goers.

              I didn’t just go straight to “but the POTUS is black” I happened to mention that a few years ago, the possibility of a black president would almost have been scoffed at, as would, at one stage, the likelihood of people like Oprah and Tyler Perry as media and film icons respectively (whether you like them or not).

              People are always looking to place the onus of change on other people instead of realising that they, and every one else, needs to be part of the change for it to happen. I believe it’s what’s call critical mass…

              • MsWoo, I am glad you returned.

                Excuse me for using parts of your comment, but the following is where I was trying to move the conversation, and your recent comment helped me get there.

                “There are two problems, the first which Kathryn touched on briefly, is that these actresses aren’t hired for the meaty roles a Streep or Kidman gets (call me when Audra McDonald-4 Tony Awards-gets to do Terms of Endearment, Silkwood or The Hours) because often those projects aren’t written with blacks in mind because of the tones/periods that Hollywood caters too. A sweeping epic set during the fall of Rome isn’t likely to see Denzel sitting on the throne next to Viola Davis”

                In this tread (this post) some were crying foul on Halle for accepting certain roles. That sentiment and the above quote and our previous conversation (where do we go from here & where can we go from here) is my question. Sure it’s easy to say there are great possiblity ahead, and who would have thought Obama, Oprah, and Tyler Perry would have reached their level of success, however, as jug suggested and I implied, our stories are somewhat limited to our history.

                Again, “A sweeping epic set during the fall of Rome isn’t likely to see Denzel sitting on the throne next to Viola Davis” nor, an epic adventure of the overthrow of evil Mr Charlie, Starring Terrence “hustle and flow” Howard and Loretta “not devine” Devine. Well, there was Zulu, and Panther, but….

                “I believe it’s what’s called critical mass…”

                Okay, I got that, however, given the lack of “resources” and the fact that money talks (who’s going to see the film and why) how does one go about making “the change” really happen?

                Do you agree or not that Halle and other black actresses are limited by the roles that are written with a black women in mind? If so, again, what specific roles have to be written for them? And, what stories do you (or anyone) believe are yet to be told?

                And mind you, if the story has the smell of a Precious or FCG, the haters will crowd the streets in protest.

                You know how it goes… “We don’t need no mo of dem moives”

                • Of course I agree that Halle and other black actresses are limited by the roles written for them. More fool them. Perhaps they need to be more proactive. You wait for crumbs from off of other people’s tables, then that’s what you get. In fact, while I’d agree with a lot of what has been said here about her acting skills (she’s not the worst actress ever, but she’s not among the best either, Oscar or no Oscar), Halle is refreshingly proactive in that regard. Just this project alone has taken 10 years and yet she’s seen it through to Oscar contention. She’s a lady that creates work for herself (and others) rather than sitting around bemoaning the dearth of roles.

                  But this is what frustrates me with your arguments – although I’m the one that brought up period films, so I guess I should take the blame for you heading down that path – that black people are limited by their history!! The several kingoms, realms and empires of African antiquity aside (the relics and artefacts of which may be found locked away in the basements of Europe’s museums, with only a small fraction of them ever seeming to go on public display… and, for the record, I went to secondary school (high school) in Nigeria, and we learned West African history, not European or American history and, if memory serves me correctly, there were a hell of a lot of dates and names to be memorised in order to pass an exam in what was made a boring subject but which, obviously oblivious to the world’s denial of the existence of African history, I took forgranted. Would that I had had history teachers who could have brought these kings, queens and empires to life in my imagination. But I think that’s a problem with history teaching throughout the world, and which is probably why we live in such an ignorant world). Anyway, I digress. Where was I…? Oh yes, if you don’t want to look backwards for stories (because you think there aren’t any there or that they’re limiting), then look forward, for crying out loud! Or look around the present. Or create a whole new universe! The lack of resources, it seems, appears to be a lack of imagination.

                  The financial resources may appear to be in the hands of a small white elite minority but even then, as Tye Perry, of all people, have shown, even they can be convinced to part with a little if they think they can get a lot back in return. We may not like his output, but he has cannily put himself to the fore and will, I believe, with his new production company (34th Films?) start making films other than what his loyal fan base is used to. How he goes about that remains to be seen, but a man with supposedly no resources a few years ago has proved to be more resourceful than many of us care to give him credit for.

                  The dearth of stories and resources seems to be the least of our problems. It’s the lack of belief in our stories and resources (or in their exisence) that I find the most frustrating. I find myself getting tired of the constant cry of lack of opportunities, lack of resources and lack of stories. Personally, I belive that films like Precious, FGC, Beloved, et al should continue to be told and made into films – the problem is that there aren’t many other stories to balance them out. So we generally get to choose from depressing woe is me stories and, as Sergio termed them, “castor-oil films” that are positive but ultimately underwhelming in the entertainment department.

                  OK. It’s 5am here in Blighty and I still haven’t gone to bed. So enough with my rambling for now. At this rate, I should have just written this as a bloody post rather than a comment! lol.

                  • MsWoo, let me cover my head and say, I am with you… I’m just asking the questions. You know, like getting the ball rolling. So take that knife outta “my” back. :-)

                    Oooouuuuweeee, I am glad it’s not my “argument” and that I am not married to you because a brotha wouldn’t get any sleep if he had a dispute with you. I mean, 5am in the moaning is sleepin’ time.

                    But Wendy, again you’ve represented in a splendid fashion. You said it was a rant, but I’ll call it right-on, right-on, spot on.

                    • LOL! I work evenings/nights. 5am is a notional time I know that perhaps I should sleep, but I’ve only been back home for a few hours, so…

                      And, trust me, you’d know if I really had a metaphorical knife in your back… This is just friendly banter. :P

    • So I’ve only just watched the clips above and umm… Jug, having read your various criticisms about good and bad acting, I’ve just realised that you started off a conversation with a total misunderstanding/misinterprestion of what she actually said. Watch that second AFI video clip again (on Frankie and Alice). You take issue with her equating emoting or cursing with good acting. However, that’s the opposite of what she said.

      She said it would be very easy for an actress to go over the top with it and take it in that direction, as that was what could be read off the page, from the script. That would be the easy route to portray.

      However, her experience of watching videos of patients with the disorder was the simplicity of change from one personality to another – with very little drama. So she and her director discussed it and decided to go in the non-dramatic direction and keep it subtle and quiet. Seems your objection with what you perceived to be her opinion is actually in agreement with her view.

      We all make mistakes but, given the long discourse that then ensued as a result, you may want to hone your listening and comprehension skills to be in line with your criticism skills there… Although, I can only assume that nobody else listened to it properly either.

      • Jug

        Okay, I return to a flurry of comments. Niiiice.

        Ms Woo, first let me say that I agree with your above comments about Halle’s proactivity in creating roles for herself. Women, & by extension Black Women, must do that in order to have the career they want (really all actors). Vin Diesel has been working tirelessly to get a movie about Hannibal made for years, gaining traction & then losing it. Denzel has been attached to a film about Hannibal as well. Djimon Honsou is trying to get a movie about Thulsa Doom made (the character James Earl Jones played in the first CONAN movie with Schwarzenegger) in the same vein as THE SCORPION KING with the Rock (how he was good and then went bad). There are other people out there trying to make it happen for themselves, going the comic book route to turn into films (Tyrese’s MAYHEM comes to mind) but it is indeed a treacherous marketplace & the one person who has been able to do it has been Tyler Perry, specifically because of his built in fanbase. I’ve spoken to studio executives who have tried to copy his model with minority-centric films & have failed miserably because they lack the necessary component-faith based films (but that is another discussion for another day).

        I do, however, think your feelings about Halle are clouding your understanding of our conversation. I heard & agree with what Halle said. Every actor has roles they “gravitate” to because they like them, have an affinity with them, are interested in exploration, etc. Looking at Halle’s career as a whole, she only excels in projects where she can emote. That is my issue with her statement, because that speaks to an actually small skill set. Look at all of her movies. She’s at her best when she’s volatile, thoroughly abused & downtrodden & (visually) unattractive. Jungle Fever, Losing Isaiah, Why do Fools Fall in Love, Things We Lost on the Fire. All good films where she was good, if not exceptional. However, more of her filmography is littered with mediocre to poor movies & definitely poor performances (Last Boy Scout, BAPS, Catwoman, X-Men trilogy, Flintstones, Rich Man’s Wife, Swordfish, Gothika, Perfect Stranger. All performances by Halle were pretty bad (& before you ask, YES, I have seen them all save FRANKIE & ALICE). And that is the issue at hand, what has she done in this film. I’ll have to see it to speak on it further.

        My point being that with a track record like that, if she was not stunningly beautiful (and black), she would not be working. So her balance is that she can turn on the emotional floodgates in the abused roles because she obviously has a deep “well” to draw from. Is that a bad thing, no. It becomes an issue, for me, when it’s confused with that being the only mark of a good actor. A good actor doesn’t always need to yell scream & cry to let the world know they’re a good actor. The two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive.

        In most acting programs, especially in Universities, the beginning students always want to do scenes from Hurly Burly, a play by David Rabe. The reason is because it has a ridiculous amount of cursing, drug use, & sexuality (everything I love about life). All the things they don’t get to do in their everyday life, & then they say “Wow, I’m acting!”.

        But when they get to the subtleties of a Tennesse Williams or August Wilson of John Patrick Shanley or the complicated rhythm of David Mamet or Susan Lori-Parks, they wet the bed. “You mean I can’t cry & curse?! I have to dig deeper, less surface work?! Hell Nah!!” Same sort of thing with Halle. I have never said she is a bad actress because obviously I’ve seen all of her films and enjoyed her in many of them. Does that mean I disregard the fact the only time she can give worthy performances is when her make up “comes off” & she gets “ugly”? No. Same thing with Tom Cruise. Tom can act, when he wants to. But he has discovered that the best way to maintain his box office superiority is to be framed in his films & run. Will Smith really did pull an Ali when he played the champ & did it excellently, proving that he wasn’t all about smiling in the camera & being “the nice, approchable” black guy. But he knows his brand, his bread & butter. With Halle, back to what I said before, is if you know that’s your bread & butter, don’t do DIE ANOTHER DAY & get upstaged by the female villain or SWORDFISH & only have a memorable moment when you flash your boobs & say you’ll only do that if “it’s necessary to the script” :-( You have to turn in work in those that is on par with everyone else, not subpar or just plain awful (no one remembers her “African” accent in the first X-Men that went away by number two, there’s a reason for that).

        And as to your point that you & I are in agreement (Halle & I), yes we are. I agree with what Halle “said”. What she “does” is another thing entirely. Watch Q&A’s with Denzel or another actor that we all have said “you’re the same in every movie” and they will talk about the process and how they crafted this role & worked so hard to make it different, and then it turns out to be the exact same thing you did in your last film. So as I stated above, it is about your track record, your career, your “rep” that audiences base their opinion of off (for better of worse), not what you “say” in Q&A’s. I sat through a Q&A with Terence Howard for HUSTLE & FLOW where he bemoaned his previous behavior & said that he had learned his lesson about being a diva, & nothing is owed to you & he will focus on the work & not his ego. Annnd then he punches Debbie Allen’s (the director) brother in the face & says he hates Broadway.

        http://www.broadway.tv/blog/broadway-magazine/terrence-howard-broadway-lawsuit-cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof/

        Conjecture aside, I listen to your work, what your produce, not how I feel about you for the “person” I believe you to be or what you “represent”. That way you can’t let me down or be inflated, you do what I expect of you & that’s cool.

        On a side note, there history of blacks in America and the world plays a HUGE factor in how roles are written and what actors are sought. This is, after all, a VISUAL medium. We make judgements on character based on what we “see” first, not what they “say” first. That is theatre, a spoken medium. It makes it that much more difficult to “see” characters in Victorian or Elizabethan England played by an actor of color, although there is a WUTHERING HEIGHTS with it’s first black Heathcliff in post-production, but they are British & have a love affair with putting actors of color in lead roles (Idris’ LUTHER is brilliant as is the work being done on SPOOKS, DOCTOR WHO & their Shakespeare adaptations). Not to say they don’t have their issues with color (watch out if you’re Indian over there) but as far as entertainment, they are light years ahead of what we do in the states, so much so that there is a backlash about TOO MUCH color on the screen. In the US, however, there are many scripts & actors & producers fighting to make films of our stories devoid of slavery, Jim Crow ties, but will they sell? Will someone give it DISTRIBUTION? That is why everyone is waiting with baited breath about what is going to happen with Tyler Perry’s studio. What films will it produce? What kind of filmmakers will he bring aboard? Will he let messages, stories & experiences from the full range of the black (human) experience be told, in their awful, beautiful, astonishing, life-affirming brilliance? Dunno, but I’m excited to see. We are getting there, slow & steady as they say…but that too, is a talk for another day.

        So for your last little dig, I think it is you who needs to hone your comprehension & criticism skills. Try to remove your personal bias about Halle, or Black Actresses, or the state of cinema & look at it as objectively as you can. I think then you’ll understand the thread between myself, Carey, Kathryn & Zeus, which wasn’t “bashing” Halle but calling out where is in front of us, what she has presented. Also, no need to get upset, this was a lovely discussion until you became “not nice”.

        • Jug

          And I see you’re in England Ms. Woo, so you’re probably gonna eat me alive for my comments about English cinema/TV & society LMBAO

          But it’s all good I love you & your opinions :-D

          • Jug

            And re-reading my earlier comment, I see that I was mistaken in your tone. Apologize for that, thought you were gettin’ upset :-D

            And I agree with you & Carey about the dearth of films & WHOLEHEARTEDLY about the “castor-oil”. Enough with the MISS EVER’S BOYS already?!? Or if you’re gonna do that, give me a Pulp Fiction with black folks..Somethin’?!? LOL

          • Your comments weren’t exactly inflammatory – certainly not enough to rouse enough flames to roast you over (I prefer my meat cooked and so don’t like eating people alive – can’t take the fuss and screaming).

            Not sure I’d say there’s a love affair with casting blacks in lead roles in the UK. Very few black actors get that privilege and, when/if they do, it’s usually only after they’ve gone abroad (the US) and made a mark. Some film directors (Kenneth Branagh springs to mind) might be less biased and more adventurous in their casting choices but theatre tends to be slightly kinder to black actors in the UK than film and TV. Slightly.

            • Jug

              LOL Thank you for the reprieve :-D.

              But that is sad to know, because in the US, what we get over here, film & tv wise, is project after project that feature black & Indian actors in lead roles. But what you’re saying about actors that have made a mark in the US makes SO much sense. And it actually goes back to your earlier point which is spot on. The business is the business, & every actor, black or otherwise, is fighting to get a foothold in America thereby giving them international appeal (and waay much more money).

              Here in the US, we do it in reverse. We import actors from the UK, France, Australia & New Zealand so that they have a built in audience base in their country & will a “discovery” in America. Guess how many of them are black? Pretty much use 5 fingers…

              Incidentally about the topic as a whole, a friend & I joke that in the US, we fall down in a fit when a foreign actor does an American accent & people here go “OH MY GOD THEY’RE AMAZING!” It doesn’t take much LOL

  • Grace

    People who can’t sing that well do a lot of runs. People who can’t that well act cry and blubber their way through emotional scenes.

    Notice how: Aretha, Gladys, Whitney, Toni, Chaka, et al. would hold a note until all the hairs on your neck were standing up. Notice how: Beyonce, Rihanna, Keisha, etc. do a lot of runs?

    Notice how Cicely Tyson’s facial muscles would shift of tighten, and her eyes would light up or dim while she was standing still and you completely knew what she was feeling in each scene in Sounder? Yeah.

  • Ok CareyCarey, I’m taking you on.

    Whoopi Goldberg…”Sarafina”, “The Long Walk Home”, “The Color Purple” Whoopi…NOT the “Jumping Jack Flash” one. Cicely Tyson, who changed my entire world in “A Woman Called Moses.” I measure actors in two ways, the ones who can be seen THROUGH the character like Denzel, Angela Basset, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro; and the ones who DISAPPEAR into the character leaving no discernible trace of themselves in the performance. Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg and Cicely Tyson fall into the latter category…and for me, they are the stronger actors. You have to understand though that the ROLE IS EVERYTHING!! Without a powerfully complex character to play, even the best actors will be less than stellar. I agree with Grace, the subtleties are everything…especially on film. I’m going to throw the cast of “Eve’s Bayou” into the mix as well….stellar performances, in my opinion, from all. But then Debbi Morgan has to go back to “All My Children” because when will another film role like that come along for her?

    We have to be singularly focused on providing CONTENT and CREATE films for ourselves. The audience is out there…the writing, many times is not.

    ..Now, as for Ms. Berry…it is going to be hard for me to appreciate what she brings to this role after watching 2 seasons of Toni Collette in “The United States of Tara.” She brings 5 (and counting) COMPLETELY DISTINCT PERSONALITIES to life, utterly suspending disbelief from my analytical mind week after week with effortless ease. I am not a Halle hater, she was stellar in “Monster’s Ball” and in my opinion definitely deserved the Oscar, but she has failed to move me in anything else….she’s pretty though. :-)

    • Okay 3D Dawn, you called and I am here.

      First, you said: “I measure actors in two ways, the ones who can be seen THROUGH the character like Denzel, Angela Basset, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro; and the ones who DISAPPEAR into the character leaving no discernible trace of themselves in the performance. Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg and Cicely Tyson fall into the latter category”

      Now, I wholeheartedly agree with your measuring stick, I am with you, but how you arrived at your choices (some of your picks), has me in quite a quandary.

      3 Dawn-Dang you had me listening to your every word until Whoopie leaped from you mouth. I mean, it’s obvious you know what you’re talking about, but how in the heck did whoopie ever DISAPPEAR into the character leaving no discernible trace of themselves in the performance? I mean, she did a fantastic job in The Color Purple, but aside from that, she’s Whoopie in every role. If you would have used the example of Jamie Fox in Ray, I would have given you my ear as if you were E.F Hutton or Warren Buffet… but Whoopie?!

      And oh how I knew someone would prance Cicely Tyson on the floor. Now I have to be very careful because she’s an iconiac black figure. Speaking negatively of her is akin to saying MLK had a chick on the side… BLASPHEMY! And since I am not trying to be every black woman’s huckleberry, I’m going to hold my comment/opinion on how she fits in the top 50.

      In short, 3DawnToDusk, you did a fine job of presenting your case, but question questions questions?

      • Jug

        On this one, I’m with ya Carey…WHOOPIE?!?! LOL C’mon man, the list is looong where she is the same (Riding in Cars with Boys, Made in America, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Star Trek). And Cicely…yeah she got that Denzel over-bite/lip suck thing going on LOL

        But for real, I do agree that when you have so few choices, the ones you do have become oh so precious.

        Tho he is an amazing actor, Johnny Depp doesn’t disappear into roles quite well either. He just does amazing character work, but if you watch the Pirates movies, Capt Jack is the perfected form of Hunter S Thompson from FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with it, just happens when you do a number of films it comes out. And as long as they’re good & interesting-I’m good.

        Brad Pitt…yeah aside from Snatch & 12 Monkeys, same dude. Good performances in Seven, Ocean’s movies & Babel, but same dude (incidentally he was awful in his movies until 12 Monkeys, so he learned on the job). Angelina…really? Aside from GIRL, INTERRUPTED-please name a movie where you DIDN’T know it was her? Maybe A MIGHTY HEART but nothing else (GIA was pretty much her everyday-just ask Billy Bob Thornton). But there are very few actors that you get no discernible trace of who they are or their last role in their films and part of that, talent aside, is when you’re a star, you’re not hired to hide who you are, but you’re hired for your personality, or the persona people think is you. Studios & Networks really could give about how well you mask your “isms”, have a funny walk & a really cool character tick. They want the vixen with lips that look like they could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch & eyes that seem like heat vision is burning right through you. The other stuff is just gravy.

        • Zeus

          Johnny Depp said in several interviews that he got Captain Jack from Keith Richards and FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS was him playing Thompson over-the-top because he hung out with Thompson.

          • Jug

            @Zeus-Oh indeed. I’m talking about the actual acting work, not the inspiration. The drunken off kilter thing is the basis of both of their mechanics. Just noting that the similarities. And TRUST, I LOVED them both! Not saying they are bad performances whatsoever. More like “Oh, look at how Michael Johnson runs the 200M standing straight up & winning mad gold medals”. Edward Scissorhands, Benny & Joon, Blow, Donnie Brasco, Depp will ALWAYS get my dollar!

  • Jug

    Yeah I was gonna say something about Sophie & Naomie LOL (Sorry Kathryn, but I’m still with ya :-P)

    While I do agree with you that there is an all too short list of top black actresses in Hollywood, you sort of proved my point above Carey.

    Two things, It’s one thing to say that they are in the same sorts of projects all the time (regarding your reference to Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson & Kimberly Elise) but it’s totally different to say these actresses are bad & that’s just wrong. You can tell an actor’s artistry from the roles they choose (and even then the economic/social climate as well). The lead roles they often get hired for are the “fresh out of slavery/down in the south/mother of the hood kid/Tyler Perry” roles. Remember, at the height of Black Cinema in the 70s, Broadway Treadin’, Shakespearean trained black actors (Morgan Freeman, Ron O’Neal) were the baddest pimps & hustlers to ever grace the silver screen. I wouldn’t jump to the reeeeally exaggerated assertion that they cannot act, because those roles & stories, while needing to be told (not the pimp ones but the Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson joints), are very pat & formulaic in their tone and are really one-dimensional of their depiction of the black experience. That’s why they work & get made for Black History month. LOL

    But the other thing, & this is a very interesting point-is a question to you Carey, are you equating bad performances with bad actors? Because we can throw shit against Nicole Kidman (Fur, Australia, Invasion), Hugh Jackman (Viva Laughlin!, The Fountain, Wolverine), Idris Elba (Obsession, The Reaping), Naomie Harris (Ninja Assassin), Sophie Okenedo (Ace Ventura 2, Aeon Flux), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Four Brothers) all day and see what sticks.

    Not to bash her again, but Halle Berry’s track record doesn’t speak to a good actress who’s had some poor performances (which makes her human), but a stunningly beautiful performer who gets lucky every now & again. That’s why it’s extremely important she chooses her roles carefully, which she doesn’t-Catwoman, so she ends up getting exposed. And in all honesty, few actors are actually true chameleon’s, many of them do one or two things well & that’s okay. Just be as good & as honest as you can be while not “settling” for doing the exact same thing over & over. Stretch. THAT is where the good ones shine. They stretch. Sometimes they fly, sometimes they crash. But it’s the trying that makes them better. Are we going to say Al Pacino is a bad actor because after SCENT OF A WOMAN he became “GIMME ALL YA GOT” Al? Or the Denzel of GLORY becoming “I have to say everything twice & stare you down so it looks like I’m in the scene” Denzel? No, it’s just some really tired, cliche’d choices that work on screen because it’s bells & whistles, & people love bells & whistles. You know they can do better and they often do. Hell, Bill Nighy is EXACTLY the same in EVERY movie, down to his damn two finger thing but he’s a beast in every movie he’s in. And like Kathryn said above, those decisions often come from money. You give me a $15 Million check, I’m yelling at the same pitch in EVERY movie! LMBAO

    All of that brings me back to the idea that there are bad actors, and then there are good actors who fit into bad projects or “weak acting” genres because they have a certain skill set that puts food on the table. See past the crappy performance and look at their careers as a whole. Often those same “crappy” actresses you refer to, have multiple Tony Awards & maybe even some Olivier’s. I mean really, just because Audra McDonald hasn’t been in a film since 03, you says she’s bad but she’s on Broadway and at the Kennedy Center killin’ it?! Judi Dench (whom I love) hasn’t been in anything of note for over 5 years, but she is fun in the James Bond franchise laughing all the way to the bank. Then she gets to go home to England & do Cranford on the BBC till the cows come home.

    One thing I AM thankful for, is that in this whole discussion, no one has tried to throw the usual suspects in the “good actress” discussion out there(Meagan Good, Jennifer Hudson, Gabby Sidibe) Zoe Saldana tho is on the come up & may be that one black actress that gets the nod to be in a “Gladiator” or “Aviator”. Only time will tell…

    • “Carey, are you equating bad performances with bad actors?”

      NOPE. That’s not what I’m saying.

      “Are we going to say Al Pacino is a bad actor because after SCENT OF A WOMAN he became “GIMME ALL YA GOT” Al? Or the Denzel of GLORY becoming “I have to say everything twice & stare you down so it looks like I’m in the scene” Denzel?”

      Again, nope nope notta. In fact, you did an outstanding job of identifying my concerns.

      In short, regardless of a few “roles for money” a quality actor’s cream will rise to the top, and the thin acting skills/range of the also-rans, will continually drift to the bottom, to lanquish in the world of possibilities, remember when, ifs, and oh how see cries so good (she just needs the right role).

      • Jug

        Okay I get that. Actually, may of your concerns are mine, but I can’t go to the extreme and say “They’re all bad & only foreign actors are good” because I’ve seen some dogs overseas & some brilliance, just like anywhere else (Simon Baker & Sam Worthington may as well stop doing an American accents for real LOL).

        But nothing exists in a vacuum. Like Bobby McFerrin. He was in an interview the other day & the guy I was talking to said “Wow, he fell the hell off” & I said “No, old boy has been orchestrating symphonies and what not, touring & making doucmentaries. Just because he was out of the public eye doesn’t mean he was no longer good or successful. I only use that example because our perception of their talent can often be very narrow & not measured against any real-world implications. Same way with actors. If they “drift to the bottom”, are we talking about not seeing them in projects because the industry landscape is changing? Are they directing? Are they on Broadway? Are they writing producing? Or are they just bad? It’s why i keep going to Halle. Because she has enough clout to choose better material and only goes to the ones where she can do the emotional pyrotechnics-which we agree on. I just think that other actors have a different career course that, with further scrutiny, lends to an understanding of WHY they do the performances they do, not that they CAN’T do the other performances.

        It’s a knee jerk reaction. I do it too. But I fight to pull back and see the whole situation to base my opinion on. I often fall short LOL but I try nonetheless.

        Great discussion y’all!

  • Jug, I am LOVING EVERY WORD out of your mouth right now!!! :-)

    CareyCarey that is why I named those specific Whoopie films because the “Sister Act” and “Lion King” roles definitely do not display her true ability. Unlike Halle, she has done enough spectacular work, in the three films I named, to solidify her spot in my top 20. Cicely, poor thing, just had to take what she could get. In the 70′s she was able to create memorable characters and performances with ONLY slave type roles to choose from. Her choices as an actress were always impeccable, and still are to this day…even in the Tyler Perry joint. And Jamie Foxx just slipped my mind as Ray…he was perfection in that.
    Loving you MUCH wit yo opinionated self!! :-)

    • Jug

      Why tank ya kindly! :-D I’m loving this discussion & my hats off to Carey for setting it off. Had the guts to say “Folks Suck!” LOL Get it rollin’

    • Jug

      Yeah I gotta concur about RAY. That & LAST KING OF SCOTLAND were definitely truly deserving performances (even though the movie was about the white guy LOL)

      • Yeah, and Idi Amin Dada was a fat black musty mouth cannibal, who either killed, tortured, or imprisoned from 100,000 to half a million people.

        But like others, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. It’s not often that I see black folks engage in discourse without switchblades coming out. It’s nice to see “disagreement” behind a smile.

        And since accolades are flowing like red kool-aid in the projects (on a hot summer day), I have to say….

        Jug, if I had your writing skills, I’d throw my hand away. Your sentence structure is easy to follow and you get straight to the point.

        @ 3ddawn, I love you too baby, wit yo crazy fine self.

  • I would rather see BAPS Part II

  • I somehow missed some of the comments yesterday, so I want to clarify a few things. First, Angelina Jolie was NOT on either of my lists. I like her, but with the exception of GIA, she has yet to truly inspire me. I also forgot to mention Forest Whitaker who is flawless in every way…as an actor and director, in my world view. I don’t prefer one style over the other necessarily; I just think that the skill set required to leave no trace of your true self behind in the character is different and often more enjoyable for me to watch. I have never seen an actor disappear in EVERY role…that would be something. The ones who do it at all though are few and far between. It just requires more focus and dedication to the character’s own life, needs and history. Most actors find ways in which they can identify with the character, and then build upon that. For an actor like Michael C. Hall, when playing DEXTER, where does he go to find the empathy and total acceptance of the character that allows Michael to play him without eliciting a trace of judgment from his viewers?

    Secondly, we are just going to have to agree to disagree on Whoopi…maybe it’s a locs thing for me. I have followed her since her one woman show and the chops are there!! She is a little lazy at times and she definitely and obviously takes many roles just for the money; but she continues to inspire me because she has NEVER portrayed herself negatively. In the three movies I named she is absolutely invisible…only the soul of the characters can be seen.

    I’d also like to offer a few suggestions of the types of films that we can make that are completely different from the typical comedy, Tyler Perry-esque dramedy, and the Will Smith larger-than-life-starring-one-or-two- black-people genres. Absolutely ANYTHING by Octavia Butler can be adapted for the big screen and be larger than THE MATRIX (which of course you know was written by and subsequently stolen from a black woman). If you are unfamiliar with Ms. Butler, I would BEG you to read any of her books…WILD SEED should be first. You will be hooked and you will instantly see their cinematic value. MsWoo touched on the vast expanse of African History that can be tapped as well.

    We can also re-make 20 year old films with a new take…and NEW FACES. :-) I watched one the other day that starred a very young Kevin Spacey (another actor in my top 20), shot in my hometown (ATL BABEE) called CONSENTING ADULTS. It would be a great re-make. There are thousands of others that can be done much better than the terrible FATAL ATTRACTION knock off OBSESSED (STILL smh at the thought of it). How about a horror film or two? We haven’t had one of those since…uh…VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN? I could be wrong, but that’s the last one I saw. Biopics…Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, the oh-so-elusive Bob Marley film, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway, Nat King Cole, Madame C.J. Walker (in the works?),…the list goes on and on. There has been MEASURABLE success in that genre with RAY, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE, WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT…etc. Next come the musicals, remember PURPLE RAIN? I could go on all day….I don’t think that the problem is with potential content…as with the now almost defunct music industry, the problem is distribution. Why won’t Oprah, Tyler…and a few of their friends build one theater in every major city? With 10 plus screens per theater, the dividends would be exponential…and the cost?…under $500M (I’m in Real Estate too):-)

    Anywho, us worker bees are busy typing away at our own little scripts and filming whenever, whatever we can. The beautiful thing is that it is getting very inexpensive to shoot a quiet little character driven movie. If we can count on the Tylers, Will Smiths and Latifahs of the world to bank roll the big budget ones, and we start showing them in the 50 to 100 new theaters…well, things will change very quickly. Don’t mind me, I’m just an optimistic, solution driven visionary…YES WE CAN!! Loving you guys & girls…THIS IS FUN!! :-)