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Halle Berry Is No Longer Going To “The Mountaintop” On Broadway; But Samuel L. Jackson Is

First announced for a Broadway run last spring, Katori Hall’s award-winning play, The Mountaintop, imagines a meeting between an enigmatic hotel maid and Martin Luther King Jr, the night before his assassination.

The play premiered in London in 2009 to much critical acclaim, selling out almost throughout its run. British actors David Harewood and Lorraine Burroughs assumed the starring roles, and both earned nominations for their performances.

It’s making its move to Broadway, with a fall 2011 debut planned, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, with previews beginning September 22 and an opening on October 13; Tony Award nominee Kenny Leon, who directed Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in last year’s revival of August Wilson’s Fences, will direct The Mountaintop.

Samuel L Jackson was to play Martin Luther King Jr., and it appears he’s still very much attached to the part. However, this afternoon brings word from the producers of the play that Halle Berry, who was supposed to play Camae, the hotel maid at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, will no longer be involved in the production – a role that would have been her Broadway debut.

Why? Well… “Ms. Berry would not be appearing in the role due to child-custody issues,” the producers said in a released statement.

I thought that was mostly handled at this point… not that I’m staying abreast of all the tabloid headlines on the matter.

Regardless, she’s out, which means a search for her replacement is underway! I’m guessing the producers will go for another high-profile Hollywood actress for that part. Who exactly is anyone’s guess. There are a few to choose from.

The play’s longer synopsis reads: “Taking place on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop is a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., as he retires to Room 306 in the now famous Lorraine Motel in Memphis, after delivering his legendary ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech to a massive church congregation. When room-service is delivered by a young woman, whose identity we puzzle over, King is forced to confront his past, as well as his legacy to his people.”

14 comments to Halle Berry Is No Longer Going To “The Mountaintop” On Broadway; But Samuel L. Jackson Is

  • Oscar

    Please book Kerry Washington for this role.

    • Charles Khaikin

      Ummm, not a good match for Kerry judging from her performance in David Mamet’s RACE last year. Besides, she just booked the Shonda Rhimes’ pilot DAMAGE CONTROL. Not available….

  • Rod Gailes OBC

    My vote is for a talented “unknown” like Dominique Morisseau or Michelle Wilson or Benja K. Thomas. THAT would be HOT!!! Tell’em OBC said it. LOL

    • ladybug

      Amen to that! Someone who can throw down and give it to us live 8 shows a week . . . including the matinee! My instincts tell me they will go big name again . . . sigh. Maybe the bad box office of Bengal Tiger and Motherfuck . . . Hat . . . could influence them to think otherwise . . . here’s praying!

  • Charles Khaikin

    Amen to the third power! I actually saw Dominique Morisseau tear this role up at a reading…time to discover new talent….and the play just got a reading in Russia! http://www.themoscowtimes.com/columns//article/martin-luther-king-jr-plays-to-a-russian-audience/433344.html My mom translated it!!!

  • rollercoaster

    I’m surprised no one else said anything about this, but…

    Samuel L. Jackson as MLK Jr?! I don’t even know what to say.

    • Charles Khaikin

      Who do you want to see as MLK? Denzel? Will Smith? Jamie Foxx? Blair Underwood? Morris Chestnut? Would you go to see an unknown? Judging from the play…it’s not your usual MLK so why cast it with the usual suspects? Besides Jackson is closer to the role; he served as the usher at King’s funeral. Pretty deep if you ask me.

    • ladybug

      I think it was entirely miscast . . . just to have a bunch of celebrities on the stage. The biggest problem with Samuel being MLK . . . age . . . in this play he is 39 . . . in real life Samuel is 62! Let’s ponder that for a second.

  • Charles Khaikin

    Real talk? I want Anika Noni Rose. Noni’s a real artist. The real deal.

    • ladybug

      I think Anika Noni Rose is incredibly talented . . . a huge fan. But she is not the only actress with talent. Let’s not get trapped in that whole thing . . you know where every black man should be played by Denzel . . . the Anika version. I have not read or seen the play so I cannot say whom would be right for this part . . . but my hope would be that they find the perfect actress to inhabit the role . . . famous or not.

  • sandra

    Halle Berry is ONE HOT MESS!!!! She really needs to go far away and regroup. Has she she sat down recently to analyze the state of her career? DAYUM!!!

  • true

    She doesn’t need to go far away, that’s just plain ridicules. What she needs is new Management. She needs someone who can fight for her to get roles like these so called whiteywoods.