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‘Respect’: First Look At Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin

MGM released a 44-second first-look teaser for Respect in which Jennifer Hudson plays the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. You can watch the clip above.

Liesl Tommy (Jessica Jones) is directing, with a script by Tracey Scott Wilson (The Americans).

The Respect cast also includes Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, and Mary J. Blige.

Respect will hit theaters on Oct. 9, 2020. Check out the film’s new poster below.

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‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey’: First Look Photos

Netflix has released the first look images of their upcoming holiday film Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey starring Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Keegan-Michael Key, Sharon Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Kieron Dyer, John Legend, Justin Cornwell, Lisa Davina Phillip, and Hugh Bonneville.

Written and directed by David E. Talbert (Almost Christmas, Baggage Claim), Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey follows legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Whitaker) whose fanciful inventions burst with whimsy and wonder. But when his trusted apprentice (Key) steals his most prized creation, it’s up to his equally bright and inventive granddaughter (Mills) — and a long-forgotten invention — to heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within.

The film is set to release globally on Netflix on November 13, 2020.

Check out the first look images below.

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KJ Smith Talks Leading and Producing ‘The Available Wife’, Tapping Into Her Calling, and Working with Tyler Perry

KJ Smith is making waves in the industry. In the last few years, she’s been busier (and happier) than ever. From co-leading one of Tyler Perry’s hit series Sistas to recently starring in Netflix’s top-rated titles #BlackAF and Fatal Affair, the actress (who now also added the producer title to her resume) is not planning to slow down any time soon.

The Available Wife, one of Smith’s latest and dearest projects, is currently going through the festival circuit and has already been nominated for Best Narrative Feature at the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). The film is based on Carla Pennington‘s book of the same title, which was adapted for the screen by Tressa Azarel Smallwood (BET’s All In) and Jamal Hill (Brotherly Love), who also directed the feature. Also starring in the romantic feature are Terayle Hill, Clifton Powell, and Roger Guenveur Smith.

The storyline centers around Nicole Wright (played by Smith), a successful music executive whose life is about to crumble in front of her. While having an affair with Kingston (Hill), the sexy artist on the rise who promises her everything, Nicole learns the hard way that looks can be deceiving and his motives are as dark as the secrets she keeps.

This is Smith’s first time undertaking such a multifaceted role, she shared with us. Although the complexity of Nicole’s character made her exciting to play, the actress could not fully relate to her at first. “It was hard for me because I would simply not make the choices that she made. This is the entertainment industry, you know. One of the things that they warn you is this may be a very dark place. And I’ve faced the same decisions that Nicole had to make and I chose a different path. I’ve literally been in this situation and I did not make that choice.”

Eventually, Smith found other ways to connect to Nicole. “She would do anything for her family, that’s something that was common. The fact that she doesn’t let anything take her down. It’s like me, I never give up, I never have, and I never will,” she shared. The actress hopes that the viewer will have sympathy for Nicole and will see why she made those choices.

‘The Available Wife’ official poster

The Available Wife is special to Smith in many ways: this marks her first leading role in a feature film and her first time producing a project of such magnitude. “I feel like I was really tapping into my calling. I’ve always been a natural-born leader, I’ve always been able to multitask. I’ve always had that capacity and that ability. When you are an actor you kind of do what you’re told, so the opportunity to have a say-so in how this film goes and how my character is portrayed really made me feel empowered and I just fell like I was in my zone, I felt great!”

When it comes to passions outside television and film, Smith enjoys fitness, yoga, and dance classes. Traveling has become her most favorite thing. Now, with COVID still holding most productions on hold, the actress has more time to enjoy new places and discover new cultures.

The pandemic, however, could not hold Smith away from work for too long. Tyler Perry Studios made history by becoming the first in the country to resume production in July. Smith, who stars as Andrea Barnes in Perry’s hit show Sistas, says she had no reservations about going back to the set. “I trust Tyler Perry and I knew we were gonna be okay. I trust him, I trust the team. We are family now, so I don’t worry about it.”

Courstesy of KJ Smith, IG: @KJSmith

Working for Perry has been lifechanging. The world-renowned filmmaker and entrepreneur is not just her boss, Smith considers him a friend and her biggest inspiration. “I don’t know how he finds time to respond to my text messages, but he always responds, quickly. I mean no one’s done what he’s done in this business.”

Smallwood, who owns MegaMind Media and co-wrote the screenplay to The Available Wife, has also made an impact on Smith and her work. “I call her often, she gives me great advice and especially as an up and coming producer. She has made so many films. She is just so great!”

The Available wife is currently available at ABFF Play through August 30, and will later drop on one of the streaming platforms. Smith says an announcement will be made soon, so stay tuned!

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The Batman: First Look at Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman and Jeffrey Wright as Jim Gordon

Saturday (August, 22) – the first official trailer for The Batman premiered during Warner Bros. global fan event DCFanDome.

The trailer gave fans their first look at Robert Pattinson‘s Batman,  Jeffrey Wright‘s Jim Gordon, and Zoe Kravitz‘s Catwoman.

The Batman cast that also includes Colin Farrell as The Penguin, Paul Dano as The Riddler, John Turturro as Carmine Falcone, Peter Sarsgaard as Gil Colson, Jayme Lawson as Bella Real, and Andy Serkis as Alfred Pennyworth.

The highly anticipated Matt Reeves-directed DC film is currently scheduled to hit theaters on October 1, 2021.

Watch the full trailer below.

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