It was just under a couple of weeks ago when I posted an item wondering whether Mo’Nique’s controversial choice not to play the expected industry game, and campaign for the Oscar that she would eventually win in 2009, led to her being possibly blacklisted.
Not that this news changes any of that, but I did also wonder what she’d been up to, and whether we’d see her on the screen (big or small) again, anytime soon.
The answer is, of course we will!
Last February, we highlighted the casting call for the 5th feature film from Patrik-Ian Polk, the filmmaker (nominated for 2 Independent Spirit Awards & 3 Image Awards, winner of a GLAAD Award for Best Film) of LGBT-themed indie films like Noah’s Arc, Punks, and most recently, The Skinny, and creator of the Noah’s Arc series for the Logo network.
Titled Blackbird (the second feature film by a black filmmaker, with that titled, currently in production; Gina Prince-Bythewood is directing the other), Polk’s film centers on a talented teenage singer who’s struggling with religion, sexuality, a troubled home life and other high school woes in a small Southern Baptist town – a journey that ultimately leads to him learning to accept and love who he is.
As previously announced, Isaiah Washington is playing the teen’s estranged father, who’s sympathetic to his son’s plight, and assists in his coming of age.
Meanwhile, Mo’Nique will make her first big screen appearance since Precious, in Polk’s drama, which is an adaptation of Larry Duplechan’s novel, which is summarized as follows:
Blackbird tells the story of 17-year-old Randy Rousseau (newcomer Julian Walker), a devout high school choir boy struggling to come of age in the small religiously conservative Mississippi town he calls home. Randy juggles his role as star of the church choir with facing the everyday trials of life as a high school misfit- a misfit plagued by eerie visions and premonitions. Complicating matters, his little sister has gone missing and his parents have subsequently split up, leaving him to care for his heartbroken mother, Claire (Mo’Nique). When Claire discovers a shocking secret her son has been hiding, she blames him for the disappearance of his sister. Randy’s father, Lance (Isaiah Washington), who has been keeping a watchful eye on his broken family, steps in to give his son a hand as he struggles to make the difficult transition into manhood.
Mo’Nique, who will also executive produce the film, along with her husband, Sidney Hicks, through Hicks Media
Patrik Ian Polk said, “When we wrote the role of Claire Rousseau, we dreamed of attracting an A-list actress. So to actually get an Oscar winner of Mo’Nique’s caliber was literally a dream come true. And she’s quite simply amazing in the role.”
Julian Walker will star as the young man, with Terrell Tilford, Gary L. Gray, Kevin Allesee, Torrey Lamaar, Nikki Jane and D. Woods rounding out the cast.
Blackbird is being shot on location in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
While not ETA on when the film will make its debut, I’d expect a 2014/2015 film festival premiere.
With both Isaiah Washington (an actor with his own controversial career past), and Mo’Nique signed up for this, the project certainly has my attention.