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Lorraine Toussaint, Aisha Hinds & Thomas Q. Jones Headline TV One Original Movie, ‘Runaway Island’

Lorraine Toussaint, Aisha Hinds & Thomas Q. Jones Headline TV One Original Movie, 'Runaway Island'

Another TV One original movie to add to your calendar – all part of the network’s plans revealed a month ago during its upfronts presentation, for an original programming lineup for the next TV season that includes 8 new series and specials, 16 movies, as well as new production relationships with new partners, the “For the Love of Ruth” script was penned by Rhonda Baraka.

Lorraine Toussaint, Thomas Q. Jones and Aisha Hinds headline TV One’s original movie, “Runaway Island,” the network announced today. Written by Christopher Brandt, the 2014 American Black Film Festival screenplay competition winner, “Runaway Island” tells a story about a group of troubled strangers looking to escape their woes, and who end up sharing a transformational experience on an island – Isle du Soleil, a secluded 1700s Gullah Sea Island resort – steeped in African American heritage and culture. It’s slated to premiere Saturday, July 25 at 8 PM.

Aisha Hinds and Erick Nordholm play an interracial couple who run the resort. Their lifestyle is described as slow-paced, and holistic, which forces the island’s visitors to examine the strengths and weaknesses of their relationships, along with their own insecurities, while taking stock of their lives and renewing their love for one another.

The island’s guests include an affluent Capitol Hill grandmother and new widow, Naomi Holloway, portrayed by Toussaint, and her wayward grandson, Evan Holloway (Leon Thomas); a successful pastor and his first lady wife, Reverend Clinton and Vonda Hines, who recently lost their daughter to leukemia, played by A. Russell Andrews and Erica Tazel; and media socialite Kira Geoffries, whose engagement to NFL star Raphael Burrows (Jones) threatens her well-cultivated bad girl image.

“It’s extremely rare to find stories that take you on the heartwarming and transformative journey that Runaway Island does,” said D’Angela Proctor, TV One’s SVP Original Programming and Production. “We’ve assembled one of the best ensemble casts I’ve ever seen on television, including the island itself as a supporting character, to heroically and honestly tell what it’s like to be afraid to love, to move on after the loss of a child or to reveal a much needed truth necessary for healing.”

“As this year’s sponsor of the 2015 American Black Film Festival’s screenplay competition, we are honored to bring Christopher Brandt’s award-winning script to life,” said Brad Siegel, President of TV One. “We are dedicated to helping launch the careers of future Black content creators and artists by providing them with a platform to showcase their talents. ‘Runaaway Island’ is the perfect vehicle in which to highlight the incredible, young talent in the Black creative community.”  

Additional cast members include Tom Wright as Raymond Tepper, the island caretaker and uncle to Lara Cook-Nordholm, and Herizen Guardiola who depicts Freya Nordholm, the “wiser-than-her-years” teenage daughter of the island’s resort owners. Guardiola, an industry newcomer, recently landed a starring role in the upcoming Baz Luhmann Netflix drama, “The Get Down,” as the female lead Mylene Cruz.

“Runaway Island” wrapped production last week in Point Clear, Alabama. 

The film is directed by Dianne Houston and produced for TV One by Gingi Rochelle of GR Entertainment Group and Allison Wilmarth Kovak of Cottonseed Studios. 

Craig Henry serves as executive in charge of production and D’Angela Proctor as executive producer for the network.

I must say that this is probably the strongest ensemble cast for any TV One movie that’s been announced thus far.

This Saturday night, May 9, TV One premieres the new original movie, “For the Love of Ruth,” which is inspired by the biblical story, and stars Denise Boutté, Gary Dourdan, Loretta Devine and James Pickens Jr.

Directed by Christine Swanson (who also helmed a previous TV One original movie, “To Hell and Back,” which aired last month), “For the Love of Ruth” follows the journey of Ruth Sommerling (Boutté), who, orphaned as a child and currently residing in a women’s shelter, has lived a life filled with pain and disappointment. In rapid succession, Ruth marries Nicholas Marachond, but a dreadful accident leaves her widowed. Refusing to abandon the new family ties she’s formed, Ruth develops a close bond with matriarch of the Marachond family, Naomi Marachond (Devine), who introduces Ruth to a different kind of life – one that is fuller and more fulfilling. However, Naomi’s brother-in-law Stephen (Pickens Jr.) discourages this connection and voices his suspicion of Ruth’s intentions. Ultimately, the love she desired all her life is found in Naomi’s reclusive cousin, Braxton (Dourdan) who, despite objections from others, showers Ruth with love and kindness.

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