Producer Tonya Lewis Lee, tweeted the above photo last night, along with the caption:
And in case you weren’t aware, Pauletta Washington is superstar Denzel Washington’s wife, who’s an actress as well.
The couple first met her back in 1977, when she was Pauletta Pearson, on the set of the 1977 TV movie Wilma, which both actors co-starred in, and which was Pauletta’s very first on screen role.
4 years later, in 1981, she would get to work again on her second TV movie role, in the comedy/musical Purlie. And then, 2 years later, the couple got married, Pauletta put her career on hold to raise the family, with 4 children born over the next 7 to 8 years (2 of them twins), as Denzel’s career steadily rose.
Although she had a bit part in Beloved in 1998, and was featured in 2 episodes of The Parkers during its 2003/2004 season.
And as recently as 2011, Pauletta returned to the stage to co-star in an Off-Broadway play, here in New York City, titled Desperate Writers at the Union Square Theater.
With Tonya Lewis Lee’s above tweet, it’s safe to say that she’s been cast in the upcoming film adaptation of historical fiction novel, The Watsons Go To Birmingham, which Kenny Leon (primarily a stage director, although he directed Lifetime’s Steel Magnolias remake) is directing currently.
Mrs Washington joins a cast that includes: Anika Noni Rose, David Alan Grier, Skai Jackson, LaTanya Richardson, Wood Harris, Bryce Jenkins and Harrison Knight.
Co-produced by Nikki Silver, The Watsons Go To Birmingham adapts Christopher Paul Curtis’ 1995 novel which centers on an African American family living in the town of Flint, Michigan, who visit their grandmother’s home in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, a turbulent time during the civil rights movement.
The film is being made for The Hallmark Channel, and will have its World Premiere on Friday, September 20 (8pm ET/PT, 7C).
The script adaptation was written by Tonya Lewis Lee, so she’s wearing at least 2 hats on this project.
Here’s the full synopsis along with what characters each starring actor will play:
Set in the Summer of 1963, Flint, Michigan is home to the Watsons, a close knit “All American Family” made up of Daniel and Wilona Watson (Harris and Rose) and their three kids, 15 year-old juvenile delinquent Byron (Knight), nerdy 11 year-old Kenny (Jenkins) and eight year-old adorable sister Joetta (Jackson). When Byron’s antics go over the top, his parents realize enough is enough and they decide the family needs a dose of Grandma Sands (Richardson) no nonsense approach in Birmingham, Alabama.
So the Watsons load up the 1948 Plymouth Brown Bomber outfitted with a true tone Ultra-Glide turntable and head South with plenty of comedy en route. When they finally make it to Birmingham, they meet Grandma Sands and her friend, Mr. Robert (Grier), who show them around town, and the Watsons discover that life is very different there than in Flint – and not necessarily for the better. During that historic summer, the Watsons find themselves caught up in something far bigger than Byron’s antics. Something that will change their lives and country forever.
What they get “caught up in” is the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in September, 1963, which proved to be one of the pivotal events of that year in the fight for civil rights.
The book was Christopher Paul Curtis’ first novel, and it received a Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Golden Kite Award.
The project is part of “Walmart and P&G Present Walden Family Theater,” a new series of family movies created by Walmart, P&G, Walden Media and ARC Entertainment.
The Watsons Go To Birmingham is produced by Walden Media, ARC Entertainment and Tonik Productions, LLC in association with WalMart and Procter & Gamble.
Many of you who’ve read the novel were excited for the adaptation, when it was announced 2 weeks ago. I’ve added it to my to-read pile of books, so hopefully I’ll get to it before September, when the film is scheduled to debut.