Quvenzhané Wallis Replaces Willow Smith As New ‘Annie’
The “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” actress was chosen by Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment to helm the character originally created for Willow Smith who dropped out as has grown out of the role.
“With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhané Wallis is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star. She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her,” read a statement released by Columbia.
Her upcoming film is a role in Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen.
Zoe Saldana Responds to Nina Simone Backlash
‘Avatar’ Actress Zoe Saldana's casting as legendary singer Nina Simone was met with criticism particularly when she took the role in the upcoming biopic Nina, replacing R&B star Mary J. Blige.
Many took issue with the fact that the actress isn’t a singer, isn’t dark-skinned and doesn't resemble Simone.
At a pre-Oscar party, the 34-year old actress told HipHollywood how she dealt with the backlash and why she took the role.
“What kept me from being hurt by the negative comments was that I’m doing it for my sistas and my brothas and I don’t care who tells me I’m not this or I’m not that, I know who I am and I know what Nina Simone means to me,” said the Image Award nominee.
“I did it all out of love for my people and my pride of being a black woman and a Latina woman and an American woman and that’s my truth.”
Michael Ealy Cast In New TV Show
Michael Ealy is getting ready to have another good year as he just signed as one of two leads in Fox‘s new untitled bad robot pilot (formerly titled ‘Inhuman’). The action-packed cop show is set in the near future when all LAPD officers are partnered with highly evolved human-like androids. It centers on one such pairing, cop John and his android partner Dorian (Ealy), who understands humanity more than John. The newly wed, who also starred in another two-lead drama, USA’s ‘Common Law’, has recently wrapped ‘About Last Night’ and, after the Fox pilot, will segue into filming the sequel to the hit film ‘Think Like A Man,’ also for Screen Gems.
Mary J. Blige Turns To God In Battle With Alcohol Addiction
Mary J. Blige has revealed that the tragic death of Whitney Houston made her realize it was time to face her demon of alcohol addiction. The proud born-again Christian revealed her decade-long battle with alcohol addiction to LA Confidential, sharing that she began focusing on her relationship with God instead of alcohol during the battle. The 42-year-old confessed that her alcohol addiction became worse after trying to cut back and only drink socially.
"I chose to learn how to drink socially and it didn't work," she said. "The test comes when you have to decide whether you're drinking to be social or drinking to cover up something again. To cover up depression, to cover up guilt. Shame. Abandonment… Once I realized, 'There you go again,' I had to stop."
In recent years Blige has openly discussed her tumultuous past that included cocaine and alcohol addiction, which began at the age of 16. She has explained that her dependency masked incidents of her childhood: insecurities about the way that she looked, and emotional pain that she experienced from an abusive relationship with a member of the R&B group Jodeci.
In 2001 during VH1 "Behind the Music," Blige revealed that she had been sexually abused as a child.
"That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault. It led me to believe that I wasn't worth anything," she said.
In her journey to reclaim herself and her life, she has empowered other women to do the same. In 2006, she founded the Mary J. Blige Center for Women in Yonkers, N.Y., to encourage women who have experienced domestic violence.
The queen of hip-hop soul admits that during her 21-year career that her sobriety has met many bumps in the road but she is determined to be victorious. "I don't know why, but I didn't want to go to rehab. I believe that anything man himself can do for me, God can do for me in a greater way. I decided to pray and to seek God on my own. I just stayed in The Word. And it worked."
Briefly ... Keke Palmer, Lil Mama & Drew Sidora have started filming a VH1 Biopic of the R&B group TLC ... ‘America’s Got Talent’ has added Spice Girl Mel B to replace Sharon Osbourne ... Hunky Lance Gross has snagged lead Role in new NBC pilot …John Legend has signed exclusive deal with USA Network to produce FBI drama titled ‘The Edge’ ... Actress Maya Rudolph is fielding offers for own variety series ... "Basketball Wives" stars Suzie Ketcham and Kenya Bell got into an all out physical brawl on set last week that started when one threw a plate of meatballs at the other.