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Why Did Michaela Coel Walk Away From a $1 Million Dollar Deal with Netflix?

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Michaela Coel, the star of HBO’s hit series I May Destroy You had to decline Netflix’s $1 million offer after the streaming giant refused to allow her to retain “at least 5 percent of her rights” for the show.

Coel’s success in the U.S. is largely credited to Netflix. The streamer was the U.S. distributor of Coel’s acclaimed comedy series Chewing Gum. Netflix also housed a feature musical titled Been So Long in which Coel was the lead, as well as the drama series Black Earth Rising. Coel also starred in an Emmy-winning episode of Black Mirror, also distributed by Netflix. So, naturally, Coel’s history with the streaming platform made it the premier destination for her new project. After a short negotiation with a Netflix executive, however, Coel had to find a different home for I May Destroy You in order to maintain ownership of the series.

According to Vulture, Coel recalled that Netflix made her a $1 million offer for I May Destroy You in spring 2017 but she turned it down. Why? The streamer wouldn’t allow her to retain any percentage of the copyright. Coel even discontinued her relationship with CAA after it “tried to push her to take the deal”.

I May Destry You is based on Coel’s personal experience of being sexually assaulted during the making of Chewing Gum. At the age of 32, Coel is in full creative control of the series as its showrunner, director, star, and writer. She wrote all 12 episodes and co-directed nine, stars as a young writer Arabella struggling to come to terms and process a recent assault.

The series is now streaming on HBO.

Film & Television

Ava DuVernay and Whoopi Goldberg Elected to The Academy’s Board of Governors

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has just elected members to its 2020-2021 Board of Governors. Among the six newly elected governors are director Ava DuVernay. EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg has been re-elected for a second three-year term.

For those not familiar with the work of the Board of Governors, here is a breakdown of how it works and what it does.

Per Oscars official website, The Board of Governors directs the Academy’s strategic vision, preserves the organization’s financial health and assures the fulfillment of its mission.

Governors attend 6-8 board meetings annually (in person or by video). Each Governor also serves on one board oversight committee and their branch’s executive committee, and they are expected to represent their branch at numerous Academy events through the year.

The Academy has a total of 18 branches, including the actors branch and directors branch, where Goldberg and DuVernay will serve. Each branch is represented by three governors who are elected for three-year terms.

Since the #OscarSoWhite campaign in 2015, the Academy has been making efforts to increase diversity across the board. After the most recent election, out of 54 governors, the number of female Academy governors increased from 25 to 26, and people of color increased from 11 to 12.

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Film & Television

Empire’s Terrence Howard Receives a Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame

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Long overdue! Congratulations to Terrence Howard, who, as of this morning, became a proud owner of a star on Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

See images from the ceremony below. Courtesy of Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

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Film & Television

‘Coming 2 America’: All-Star Cast To Return For The Sequel

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It’s official! Multiple sources confirmed that the original cast of Coming To America including Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, John Amos, James Earl Jones, Paul Bates, and Vanessa Bell Calloway is reuniting for the sequel!

The 1988 original story follows Akeem (Murphy) as he travels from Africa to New York, in hopes to find his queen. In the sequel, Akeem is set to become king but learns about his long-lost son LaVelle residing in Queens. Honoring his father’s wish Akeem sets off to find possibly the future ruler of Zamunda.

All original cast members will reprise their roles in the sequel – Murphy as Akeem, soon-to-be-king of Zamunda, and Hall as his best friend Semmi. Hadley will return as Lisa McDowell with John Amos playing her father Cleo McDowell. Jones will once again play King Jaffe Joffer and Bates his loyal servant Oha. Vanessa Bell Calloway is set to reprise her role as Imani Izzi.

Also joining the cast are Wesley Snipes as general Izzi, Jermaine Fowler (Sorry To Bother You) as Akeem’s long lost son LaVelle, KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) as Akeem’s daughter, Leslie Jones (SNL), comedian Luenel and Rapper Rick Ross. 

Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is writing the script. Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) is directing. 

Coming 2 America will open on Dec. 18, 2020.

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