Read THIS recent profile of Viola Davis in the Taipei Times to learn that, since forming her new production company with her husband, in addition to an adaptation of Ann Weisgarber’s novel The Personal History of Rachel DuPree (which we told you to about a month or 2 ago), she’s also developing a film based on the story of Chicago record label Vee Jay Records and it’s owner and founder, Vivian Carter. The short story goes… Vivian Carter started the label after she won a contest to be a DJ on legendary Chicago DJ Al Benson’s show.
I thought we’d mentioned this previously, but a search told me otherwise… so now you know, if you didn’t already know.
I discovered that a website for the project exists, though it’s still sparse with info. But I did lift the following write-up on the film and those involved:
Producer Scott McLain and his company Endless Sky Productions have been developing a feature film about Chicago record label Vee Jay Records and it’s owner and founder, Vivian Carter. Vee Jay was started by Vivian after she won a contest to be a DJ on legendary Chicago DJ Al Benson’s show. She and her husband Jimmy then went on to start a record store called “Vivian’s Records” and from that sprang the label. They had immediate and overwhelming success signing acts like John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, The Duke of Earl, Franki Valli and the Four Seasons and most interestingly, they were the first label to bring the Beatles to the US market. The president of Vee Jay, music business legend Ewart Abner, cut his teeth at the label and eventually went on to become the president of another legendary label – Motown. This is the story of a group of people who dared to dream the American Dream and achieve it only to lose it in a spectacular crash of egos, money and music. This is the story of dreamers who dared, and the legacy they leave behind.
The real Vivian Carter died in 1989. The image above shows her and husband Jimmy Bracken, whom she started the label with.
Obviously, Viola would play Vivian; who should play Jimmy?
In the Taipei Times profile of Viola Davis, you’ll also find several quotes from her about the industry, acting, and more, some that echo others we’ve shared on this website; others not.
I particularly liked these:
“I’ve done what was at my hand to do… That’s what’s different about my career as a 46-year-old, dark-skinned actress in Hollywood… I’ve had to sink my teeth into a role that was probably a fried-chicken dinner and make it into a filet mignon… [I have] to be just as trained and just as proficient as my white counterparts… Hollywood is a business… And I don’t fault it for that. It’s a business about money and advertising, and we don’t translate in the foreign market. And a lot of people want to indict Hollywood for that, but I don’t think it’s just an indictment on Hollywood; it may be more of an indictment on people who go to the theater to put their money down — to see what? You see a film with a predominantly black cast and you don’t see it as inclusive, but you see a film with a predominantly white cast and it is. Why?… I want to be a pioneer; I want to take on the responsibility and the weight of something bigger than myself, which is more diverse storylines, especially for black actresses. But I can only do what I do. I certainly can’t change Hollywood’s complete perception of black actresses — I need help… I’d love for this not to be a conversation in five years.. I’m very fortunate with what I’ve been able to do — I’ve been able to make a living as an actor, a really good living — so it would be very unfair of me to see the opportunities that I’ve been given and … show everybody my derriere.”
Feel free to read the full profile HERE.
And by the way, you can also on the Vee-Jay Records project website, HERE, where you’ll find a promo video.