News for 7/9/2006

Love's Got to Do with It: Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett to Star in Fences Revival

By Ernio Hernandez

Film duo Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett will star in an upcoming run of August Wilson's acclaimed drama Fences at Pasadena Playhouse.

Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps will stage the revival slated to begin previews Aug. 25 and open Sept.1 for a run currently scheduled through Oct. 1 at the California company's

"I spoke with Angela (Bassett) about playing Rose (Troy Maxson's wife) and she was quite intrigued by the idea. We spoke about actors who could fill the immense shoes that are Troy Maxson- one name came to mind for both of us and it was Laurence Fishburne," Epps revealed. "After seeing Laurence's towering performance in Without Walls at the Mark Taper Forum I went backstage to congratulate him and asked him if he would join us to bring August's most profound play back to the stage." The two were confirmed to star in a matter of weeks.

"This is our way of honoring August- and also the brilliant Lloyd Richards, the director who helped create many of his plays," concluded Epps. Both playwright Wilson and his constant collaborator Richards passed away in the last year.

The 1950-60's Pittsburgh-set drama follows the struggle of a former Negro League baseball player who now finds himself working as a garbage collector. Fences not only earned the Tony Awards for Best Play, but also the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Lloyd Richards directed the original Broadway run in 1987 which starred James Earl Jones, Mary Alice and newcomer Courtney B. Vance (Bassett's husband). Richards, Jones and Alice also took home Tony Awards for their work.

The duo of Fishburne and Bassett first co-starred in the film "Boyz 'N the Hood," then took on the real-life, volatile couple Ike and Tina Turner in the biopic "What's Love Got to Do with It?" They recently reteamed on "Akeelah and the Bee."

Fishburne earned his Tony for August Wilson's Two Trains Running. He recently appeared on Broadway in The Lion in Winter but is well known for turns in such movies as "The Matrix" trilogy, "Mission: Impossible III," "Assault on Precinct 13," "Miss Evers' Boys," "The Tuskegee Airmen," "The Color Purple," "The Cotton Club" and "Apocalypse Now" among others.

Bassett appeared in the original Broadway staging of Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Though she has also appeared on stage in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, she is perhaps best known for her film work which include "Malcolm X," "Waiting to Exhale," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "F/X" and "City of Hope."

Tickets to Fences at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Ave. In Pasadena, CA are available by calling (626) 356-PLAY. For more information, visit Pasadena Playhouse

News for 7/5/2006

The following article appeared in the May 2006 issue of Ebony Magazine

The following article appeared in the April 28, 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly Magazine

News for 4/27/2006

A chat with Angela Bassett

Chatting up actress is like talking to a girlfriend at the nail shop

Mekeisha Madden Toby
The Detroit News

Chatting up actress Angela Bassett is like talking to a girlfriend at the nail shop.

Her easy, comforting way is disarming and refreshing, and not at all the disposition associated with highly acclaimed actresses.

But Bassett, the 47-year-old actress whose portrayal of Tina Turner rivals that of the real Turner, is just as captivating in a telephone interview plugging her new movie "Akeelah and the Bee" as she is on the screen.

In "Akeelah," which opens Friday, Bassett convincingly plays the widowed mother of the movie's heroine. The flick also reunites Bassett with Laurence Fishburne, her co-star in both "Boyz N the Hood" (1991) and "What's Love Got to Do with It" (1993). Fishburne also is a producer of "Akeelah."

The New York-born Bassett, who is married to actor and native Detroiter Courtney B. Vance, also is a new mom. The couple has a set of twins -- a boy and a girl -- which they had in January with the help of a surrogate.

Listen for Bassett in "Meet the Robinsons," an animated film set for 2007 release.

On "Akeelah" and her role:

"This movie is good for kids but especially good for little black kids to see because it says that it's cool to be smart and develop your talents and be different. Having a gift doesn't make you a freak. It took the director (Doug Atchison) 10 years to write the script. When I read it, I just knew a brother had written it and was telling his story, but it's a big, tall white guy. It's a piece of fiction told from his soul, and he tells it so well because he saw Akeelah as Rocky. This is an underdog story. My role is by no means the lead, but it's a part I had to play because I was raised by a single mom who was tough, but she loved us just as hard. My mom will see this movie and say, 'You were mean,' and I will say, 'I was playing you.' "

On being a working mom:

"Now I find myself picking projects that will work within my family's schedule. Right after the twins were born, I had two awesome back-to-back offers, and I had to weigh it against the life of my little babies. As great as they were, I had to pass. Babies can help you make decisions. It's an issue that will come up again, I'm sure."

On working with Fishburne again: "It's phenomenal to work with Laurence again. We have real chemistry and a history. It's like going home."

Interview with Angela
Interview with Angela II

News for 3/30/2006

The following article appeared in the March 27, 2006 issue of People Magazine

The following article appeared in the February 3, 2006 issue of Jet Magazine

News for 2/1/2006

Actors Bassett, Vance Welcome Twins

Actors Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance Welcome Twins, One Boy and One Girl

The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - It's a boy, and a girl, for acting duo Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance. The couple are new parents of twins, a publicist for the pair announced Monday.

The babies were born Jan. 27 to a surrogate mother, Alex Dubee said.

Bassett and Vance have been married for eight years.

Bassett, 47, won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of singer Tina Turner in the 1993 biopic "What's Love Got to Do with It." Vance, 45, plays district attorney Ron Carver on the NBC show "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

News for 1/17/2005

Angela Bassett in Akeelah and the Bee

Source: Variety

Angela Bassett will star opposite Laurence Fishburne and Keke Palmer (TNT's The Wool Cap) in Lions Gate Films/2929 Entertainment's Akeelah and the Bee, reports Variety.

The film, which Doug Atchinson is directing from his own script, starts shooting February 6 in Los Angeles. Bassett will play Wanda, the mother of Palmer's character.

"Bee" is about an 11-year-old from South Los Angeles whose journey to compete in the National Spelling Bee unites her community.

The movie reteams Bassett with Fishburne after they starred together in the Tina Turner biopic What's Love Got to Do With It?.

News for 9/13/2004

Bassett and David Join Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Source: Variety

Angela Bassett and Keith David have been added to the cast of Regency Enterprise's Mr. and Mrs. Smith near the end of production shooting, reports Variety. Bassett (Mr. 3000) is playing the boss of Brad Pitt's character while David (The Chronicles of Riddick) is boss to Angelina Jolie's character.

The sexy, action-packed thrill ride, directed by Doug Liman, is about a bored married couple who discover that they are enemy assassins. John and Jane Smith are an ordinary suburban couple with an ordinary, lifeless suburban marriage. But each of them has a secret -- they are actually both legendary assassins working for competing organizations. When the truth comes out, John and Jane end up in each other's cross-hairs.

Although much of the lensing on the project was completed earlier this year, the additional scenes couldn't be shot until Pitt completed filming Ocean's Twelve.

News for 5/5/2003

Bassett Joins Bernie Mac in 'Mr. 3000'

HOLLYWOOD ( - Angela Bassett has signed to star opposite Bernie Mac in the baseball comedy "Mr. 3000," directed by Charles Stone ("Drumline").

"Mr. 3000" centers on a retired Detroit Tigers player (Mac) who comes out of retirement when three of his base hits are rejected, making his record below the prized 3,000-hit mark. Bassett will play a sports reporter who becomes Mac's love interest in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Eric Champnella and Keith Mitchell wrote the script, which will be produced by Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Maggie Wilde.

Bassett, who most recently starred in John Sayles' "Sunshine State," will next appear in the Sony Pictures Classics drama "Masked & Anonymous." Her other credits include "The Score," "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," "Waiting to Exhale" and "What's Love Got to Do With it."

News item from InStyle Magazine

News for 1/17/2003

Angela's interview from the January 2003 issue of Essence Magazine. Click on the pics to read her interview.

News for 10/30/2002

Bassett stars as Tubman in CBS telefilm

By Scott Collins

LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) --- CBS is developing a two-hour movie based on the life of Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist whose Underground Railroad helped about 300 slaves escape to freedom before the Civil War. Angela Bassett has signed on as star and executive producer.

Michael Jaffe and Howard Braunstein's Jaffe/Braunstein Films, which made this year's CBS movie "The Rosa Parks Story," will produce, along with Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and his wife, Tracey Edmonds, and producer Shelby Stone (HBO's "Boycott"). Sheila Ducksworth, head of Edmonds Entertainment Television (Showtime's "Soul Food"), will be co-executive producer.

No writer is yet attached to the project, though Braunstein said the producers are actively considering several candidates.

"Because (Tubman) is such a famous historical figure, we want to bring in a really smart writer and create a story out of all the various information" that exists about her life, Braunstein said.

Born a Maryland slave, Tubman fled north around 1850, then began returning to help relatives and other slaves escape to freedom. She developed the Underground Railroad, a secret network of contacts and way stations, to aid her missions. After the Civil War broke out in 1861, Tubman was a spy for the Union Army.

The CBS movie will depict well-known events of Tubman's life as well as more intimate details, including her wartime espionage and a love affair with a slave she met on one of her missions.

"We're showing a chapter people have never seen before," Ducksworth said.

Braunstein and Ducksworth said the idea for a Tubman film originated with Edmonds Entertainment, which then got Stone involved. Pitch meetings with CBS soon led to Bassett and Jaffe/Braunstein.

Bassett, who earned an Emmy nomination for her title performance in "Rosa Parks," and Edmonds Entertainment are repped by CAA.

Angela's Newsweek interview from July 1, 2002