A quick recap… as reported about 2 months ago, Nigerian filmmaker Jeta Amata decided to rethink and reshoot his political corruption drama about the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, Black Gold, one of very few recent Hollywood/Nollywood-style collabs which stars Billy Zane (yup, that Billy Zane), Tom Sizemore, Vivica Fox, Sarah Wayne Callies (who's currently starring in AMC's hit new zombie series, The Walking Dead), Mbong Amata, Hakeem Kae Kazim (the Brit/Nigerian who has appeared in several British and American TV shows and films), and several others.
Why did Amata want to rethink and reshoot the film? His words…
"It had to be more current. It had to adhere strictly to what was going on right now – the Arab spring and all that… It was a huge challenge that the Arabs posed to the rest of the world, especially the people in the Niger delta. If they can look at their dictators and say, 'No, we want a change', there's no reason why people in west Africa can't stand up. And it's beginning to happen."
Oh!? And I thought maybe it was because the film just wasn't very good at all! Silly me for even thinking that :)
No matter, because in rethinking and reshooting the film, the 37-year-old was able to attract even more Hollywood talent to the project, so obviously some are cool with it even if I wasn't; although I'm sure the paychecks were probably attractive too.
Amata reportedly reshot about 60% of the film (wow, that's almost the entire frigging movie), and added some more familiar names to its cast, like Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger and Anne Heche; This is an ensemble behemoth with all the names that are appearing in this thing! On paper, one can't help but be intrigued.
And also Amata changed the name from Black Gold to Black November (a reference to the month of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa's execution in 1995, and likely also to avoid any confusion with Jean-Jacques Annaud's critically-acclaimed oil epic, also titled Black Gold).
The *new* film will be released in Nigeria and in the USA later this year. How much improved will it be over its predecessor? I can only hope that it'll be significantly better.
But we do have our first look at the rethought/reshot Black November below, in the form of its first official trailer; so take a look at it below (although I gotta say, except for new scenes showing the added cast members, it doesn't look all that different from the trailer for the original film, Black Gold, which I embedded underneath the current trailer).
And here's the trailer for the original film, Black Gold: