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Tyrese, Nas, Luke James, Jacob Latimore Join Kasi Lemmons’ ‘Black Nativity’ Musical; Raphael Saadiq Scoring

Tyrese, Nas, Luke James, Jacob Latimore Join Kasi Lemmons' 'Black Nativity' Musical; Raphael Saadiq Scoring

We can now add Tyrese Gibson, Luke James, singer Jacob Latimore and rapper Nas to the cast of Fox Searchlight’s Kasi Lemmons’ musical Black Nativity, which is now back on track, as previously reported, after a brief hiatus, due to the fact that an actor to play the lead male role had yet to be secured.

Recapping… The project initially had Samuel L. Jackson’s interest, as well as Laurence Fishburne’s, and several other *name* black actors in that age group, but they all reportedly passed on the project. It wasn’t entirely clear exactly why all of these actors passed on the role (although it was noted that Samuel’s asking price may have been too much for the film’s reported $10 million budget). It was stated that the role needed an actor who could sing, and be believable as the father of Jennifer Hudson (who’s already attached to star in the project).

It was eventually revealed that Forest Whitaker had been cast as the male lead, with Angela Bassett also attached to star in the film as J-Hud’s mother (now Whitaker’s wife), in a work that’s based on Langston Hughes‘ Broadway gospel musical.

The project has actually been in the works since 2009, when we first announced it. The story centers on a young black teen from Baltimore, who is sent to Harlem by his mother to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged grandparents. The boy then learns the real meaning of faith and family when his grandfather delivers a Christmas Eve sermon and “a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story.

Lemmons is directing from her own screenplay, and Raphael Saadiq is writing the music for this musical, by the way.

No word yet on what roles exactly that Tyrese, Luke James, Jacob Latimore and Nas are playing in the film.

Shooting has begun in New York City, so get your cameras out New Yorkers!

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Chile, they have added some sangan (yes, sangan folks) to this cast.


Shooting around Marcus Garvey park this week…!


I've seen some pics of the cast on Luke James instagram. Didn't piece the characters together though.


Nas will be one of the three wise-men. I'm not saying that's the role that I want him to do, but i'm saying that's the role he will probably do.


I could wile away the hours conferrin' with the flowers, consultin' with the rain. And my head I'd be scratchin' while my thoughts were busy hatchin', if I only had a brain. I'd unravel any riddle for any individ'le in trouble or in pain.

I know, I know… why am I singing the Scarcrow's song "If I only Had A Brain"? Well, I guess, subconsciously I'm thinking this endeavor could be heading down a yellow brick road. So, I guess I am wondering who's the brains behind this?

Listen, on the surface there's a few great name attached to this project. Heck, you can't go wrong with the names Kasi Lemmons, Forrest Whitaker and Langston Hugh. And Jennifer Hudson has proven she can blow up a musical, but hold that thought.

Enter stage left, Angela Bassett and the rest of those newly added no-acting clowns. I mean, can we agree that Angela has lost whatever loving feeling she once had. Listen, acting, in my opinion, is about feelings, behavior and details. Our words do not fully explain what we are feeling, so it's the small details in our "behavior"/gestures ( facial and body language) which gives the appearance that the actor's response just came to their head, not a rehearsed "act". Unfortunately, Angela has lost that loving feeling. As of late, she always looks like she's "acting".

And, we're talking about a musical. In that art form, if a person cannot act, they're basically dead in the water. Now, of course, that depends on the focus of the film. I'm immediately reminded of the hit musical Les Miserables. I loved everything about it. Now, the begging question is why was that film so successful? Hell, that's easy… the acting… it was great. And it was a great love story.

Although many of the stars got through their singing parts (some quite convincingly), it wasn't the singing that turned heads. So, although Jennifer Hudson can blow with the best (got an Oscar to prove it) I wonder if she can be the silver lining in this nativity musical? And, I don't see the skills of Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hatheway and Eddie Redmagne in the motley crew who was added to this cast. So, here I go again… "with the thoughts they'd be thinkin' they could be another Lincoln, if they only had a brain."


I've been looking forward to this film since I first heard about it…glad it's back on track!

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