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Recapping Evening w/ Author Zane, the Men of ‘Addicted’ & Director Bille Woodruff at Urbanworld

Recapping Evening w/ Author Zane, the Men of 'Addicted' & Director Bille Woodruff at Urbanworld

On Friday, September 19, 2014 at Manhattan’s AMC Loews 34th Street 14, the 18th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org), presented a panel for the upcoming Lionsgate/Codeblack Films release, “Addicted,” which included a Q & A with the film’s stars, the author of the novel the movie is based on, and the director. Exclusive scenes from the upcoming film were also shown. 

In the early 2000’s, author Zane ushered in a new era of urban erotica, much of it tasteless, poorly written and formulaic. However, its popularity cannot be denied, as was evident at the UrbanWorld Panel Discussion for the film adaptation of her most prolific piece, “Addicted.” 

Hosted by Bevy Smith, the audience was primed for an interesting night.

Directed by music video empresario Bille Woodruff, “Addicted” boasts a beautiful box of chocolate morsels. Sharon Leal (who was not present) stars as Zoe, the beautiful wife of the very delicious Jason (Boris Kodjoe). On the outside, it appears as if they have it all, success, money and passionate sex in the shower. But of course, there’s no fun in that.

Cue the Cuban Brad Pitt, William Levy (“The Single Mom’s Club”), who sent the audience into a frenzy with every utterance. He plays the ultra sexy Latin lover Quentin who Zoe just can’t resist. Of course, if she’s addicted to sex, is it really a battle?

Then, Tyson Beckford is thrown into the mix, another of Leal’s onscreen paramours. The scene we were privileged to see was rough, rugged and raw.

No one who read the book is pretending that is anything more than porn on paper, but the stars aim to legitimize it.  Boris Kodjoe was drawn to this film because he “wanted to see Bille’s vision, to discuss the topic of sex addiction, a topic ignored in our community.”  Former model, Levy adds that “Addicted” is “not only sexy; it’s a deep story. I think sex is a real addiction, a real disease.”  Tyson says, “the bad boy wears down scene after scene and becomes more sensitive to Zoe’s needs.”

Let’s be real here. It’s not deep.

The main star of the film is going to be the sex scenes. Woodruff intimated that “with sex scenes, we try not to overshoot it.” Though they were storyboarded and choreographed so the actors knew what they were going for.  From what we saw, it was a job well done.

Save for the trailer, there were no clips of Zoe’s therapist, played by Tasha Smith. From what I remember of the book, this is perfect casting as the judgmental, in your face, neck snapping professional. Very professional.

The film was shot in 21 days with 2 months prep, and all actors shot their sex scenes on the first days on set.

As a Black woman, I have never found that there is a lack of sexualized Black female characters in the media. Quite the contrary. However, Zane says that with “Addicted,” “Women’s empowerment is my true goal. Sexuality is the area of women’s lives where we are insecure.” But a woman having multiple sex partners is berated by her psychiatrist, and made to feel ashamed of her sexuality with a label of Sex Addict? Where is the empowerment?  Who does this empower? 

Having read the book nearly a decade ago, it definitely left an impression on me as a top 5 worst ever. However, with a wealth of  eye candy, a screenplay written by Christina Welsh (not Zane), and no Cheez-Wiz anywhere, I am confident that this will be considerably better than the book. It comes to theaters October 10, so as Tyson Beckford says: “Take yo’ main piece and yo’ side piece, but not on the same day.” 

Indeed.

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