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Nicholas Pinnock On Legal System, Mental Health and His Latest Role in 50 Cent-Produced Legal Drama ‘For Life’

Nicholas Pinnock, best known for starring in a British TV series Marcella, is the lead in ABC’s latest serialized legal and family drama titled For Life. He plays Aaron Wallace, an imprisoned man who becomes a lawyer, litigating cases for other inmates while fighting to overturn his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. The story was inspired by the life of  Isaac Wright Jr., who was falsely convicted of drug dealing back in the 90s. Attaching himself to this role was a no-brainer for Pinnock, “I’ve always been interested in true life events or things inspired by true life, and stories that move and inspire me”.

There has been a noticeable growth in the production of television and film stories that expose the faulty legal system and which are based on true life events (i.e. Warners Bros’ Just Mercy, Netflix’s When They See Us). For Life can also be categorized as such. Produced by Curtis James Jackson III (aka 50 Cent), the series explores further what it is to be black and fight for what is just and fair – a theme that continues to carry importance in modern America. “I think it’s vital [to continue to tell these stories]. There’s a whole world of incarceration, and a legal system, and law that the general public has no idea about, and we should think about the [amount] of innocent people that are sitting in jail, haven’t even been tried yet! Some people are in jail waiting for their court trial and they can be there for 5-6 years, and the injustice of keeping someone locked up when they could actually be innocent is ridiculous… What we do as creators – we have [the] influence to affect change and if we can affect this change within the world then we have to do it.”

Bringing awareness to mental health issues has been another way for Pinnock to affect change in the world. After going through a serious emotional breakdown about 30 years ago, the actor had set a “whole routine of things to keep [myself] buoyant”. That includes talking to friends and family and going to a therapist, exercising and eating healthy. “[The breakdown] was partly because I didn’t speak, I kept everything inside, and I imploded, basically… I think if we keep our minds healthy and strong, we can engage with the toll we have to live with every day.”

When it comes to his character Aaron Wallace and what keeps him going in his seemingly hopeless situation, is his family. Aaron […] just purely puts his whole focus on his family and getting back to them, and that was his ammo for the whole time that we see him throughout the series. He is focused on proving his innocence and getting back to his family. And those two things were a focal point for him and that’s what gets him out of the dark days and depression that he would have or may have suffered while he was in there.”

Watch the premiere episode of For Life on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 10 PM PST on ABC.

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Film

Racing Against the Times in ‘Fast 9’ with Nathalie Emmanuel

Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel sat with Hollywood Melanin to discuss the upcoming addition to the Fast franchise. Her character, Ramsey, is a super intelligent, tech-savvy ‘hacktivist,’ showing women in a powerful light.

 Emmanuel revealed what she did to prepare for her role and what it meant to play such a strong and crucial character in the Fast & Furious series. During this critical time of social change, Emmanuel stressed how important it was to have a powerful representation of women in roles that break social stigmas.

Ramsey is a woman-mastermind and a cyber genius. Using her expertise and intellect, she was able to join Torretto’s crew and take them to the next level. Having an expert hacker like Ramsey contributes to Dom’s (Vin Diesel) ability to fulfill missions by applying science to the need for speed.

(from left) Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dom (Vin Diesel) in “F9,” directed by Justin Lin.

During our conversation, Emmanuel reflected on her role, and what technologically advanced representation does for the overall narrative. “I think it’s a great representation for women and women of color in tech—it’s really not something that you hear about.” She continued, “I think it’s really important that you have that representation, that she’s not only just into tech and she’s good at it— she’s exceptional… Maybe it can inspire people to go off to do things that maybe they think, ‘someone like me cant do that.’”

Emmanuel described her character in F9 as “hyper-focused.” Ramsey is able to pinpoint a solution amid the chaos of cars flying in the air. “I think she is one of these people who are hyper-focused, and this is what she’s good at, this is what she enjoys—so she had to note every single thing about it, and obviously technology is changing all the time, this sort of learning and on-changing. She’s just so obsessed with it that she knows as much as anyone can know; it might just explain why she hasn’t got her license because she was literally doing technology her whole life.” Emmanuel really immersed herself into her character, even relating to the fact that she can’t drive in reality!

Catch Nathalie Emmanuel in ‘F9: The Fast Saga‘ on June 25 in theaters near you!


by Betti Halsell

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Film

Going Full Throttle in ‘F9’ With Tyrese Gibson

‘F9: The Fast Saga’ hits theaters on June 25

by Betti Halsell

Iconic character Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) has made it through major milestones in the Fast and Furious series, and his character is always testing new extremities in the Fast Saga. Gibson gave HM an exclusive breakdown of his character and what it means to be a part of the Fast & Furious family.

In our conversation, the R&B legend turn-action-movie-star has shown the breadth of his talent, shared his perspective regarding the franchise’s contribution to ethnic representation, and explained why the forthcoming installment is an absolute must-see!

As a reminder, Roman entered the saga as the childhood friend of Brian O’Conner (played by the late Paul Walker). The audience meets him as a convict on house arrest, a sentence he received for harboring stolen cars.  O’Conner convinces Pearce to team up and take down the Argentinian drug lord Carter Verone (Cole Hauser).

When first introduced to viewers in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Pearce wants nothing to do with the operations. By the ninth chapter, however, we see a total shift – he is no longer foreign to danger and now fearlessly drives a military-grade tank-like vehicle through fatal war grounds.

Fast 9 pushes the limits of every character and is filled with a great deal of action! “It was a lot of movie to sit through because it’s just so much action, wall-to-wall humor, comedy, history, backstory,” Tyrese told HM.

The six billion dollar franchise has always emphasized the meaning of family and consistently put diversity to the forefront. When asked about the cultural narrative of the film, Tyrese said, “We’ve been carrying the diversity and inclusion torch for 20 years–and when we say diversity and inclusion, we’re not just saying Black and Brown, we’re saying women in movies shouldn’t be just holding on the super hero’s arm and being saved.” He continued, “We’ve always pushed that narrative–they may not want to give us the credit and that’s actually ok, but when you see the level of diversity and inclusion–and the multi-ethnic Asian, White, Black, Latino, Brazilian…we checked off every box there is, and I think there is something really powerful about people going to the movies and seeing someone that looks like them or where their from, talk the way they talk.” 

The Fast & Furious veteran promises – fans will not be disappointed, “Whoever grew up with us, whoever was raised by this franchise, they’re gonna be very happy with Fast 9.”

Catch Roman explore the theory of being invincible on June 25 in theaters near you.

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Film

Holly Robinson Peete Talks New ‘Morning Show Mysteries’ Hallmark Film

The actor, producer, and philanthropist chatted with us about her role in the latest season of Morning Show Mysteries. The sixth installment, titled Murder Ever After, continues to follow her character, Billie Blessings, as she now discovers human bones in the basement of an old friend’s house, which leads her back into investigative work that she loves so much.

Also starring in the upcoming mystery feature are Colin Lawrence (Riverdale) and Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek).

Watch the premiere of Morning Show Mysteries: Murder Ever After on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Sunday, May 23 at 8 p.m. ET. 

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