Harry Lennix confirms he’s Martian Manhunter

Acclaimed actor Harry Lennix (The Matrix, Man of Steel) may have been born in Chicago, but soon the 56-year-old star, star of television’s hit series Blacklist will be from Mars – as Martian Manhunter in HBO Max’s upcoming Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The veteran stage and screen actor confirmed that his appearance will reveal that … Continue reading “Harry Lennix confirms he’s Martian Manhunter”

Chicago’s Harry Lennix hints at Martian Manhunter role

Last week, Warner Bros made big headlines by announcing the release of Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League. In 2016, Snyder stepped away from the production and was replaced by Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon, who supervised several rewrites and reshoots to the film that saw many elements cut out. One … Continue reading “Chicago’s Harry Lennix hints at Martian Manhunter role”

Chicago stars Lennix and Hall film feature trailer

HARRY LENNIX, one of the stars of ABC’s “Commander-in-Chief,” and Irma P. Hall filmed a trailer for the proposed feature, “Lemon Tea,” that producers Rita Lewis and Felicia Middlebrooks plan to produce this year. Katherine Nero directed scenes from the story written by Marcia L. Sinclair.

The story is about an African American girl who is ashamed of her dark skin until she learns that beauty shines from within.

Lennix talks about politics, film, theatre and the one Hollywood super star he truly hates

While his “Ray” colleagues wait to see if the movie wins Best Picture and Jamie Foxx is acclaimed best actor, Harry J. Lennix is hanging out on the North Shore.

The native Chicagoan and “Ray” co-star is taking a break from his busy movie career to star in Northlight Theatre’s riveting production of Thomas Gibbons’ drama “Permanent Collection” through March 6.

Transcending his everyday self and disappearing into roles is something that Lennix has been doing on stage since his days at Northwestern University in the early 1980s.

‘City & State’ a CIFF tribute to local indie cinema

Harry Lennix shows up as a controversial comic a la Richard Pryor at his wife’s (Tatum O’Neill) Chicago night club, in Mr. Sophistication, one of nine features and six shorts in the “City & State” section of the 48th Chicago International Film Festival’s spotlight on our vibrant indie cinema scene.

“City & State” films, by local filmmakers and shot in Chicago and the state, screen throughout the Oct. 11-25 festival at AMC River East theatres.

A day of tributes to Chicago actor Irma P. Hall
and the dedication of an honorary street sign

Irma P. Hall Day June 4 brought out some 200 fans of the actress in celebration of her birthday and honorary street dedication at 95th and Halsted.

Entertainment attorney Randy Crumpton chaired the event (honoring the actress was his idea) and Sun-Times columnist Stella Foster was the witty MC.

Among the 10 speakers paying tribute were SAG/AFTRA’s Eileen Willenborg; Harrise Davidson, Hall’s long time manager; actor Harry Lennix; CFO director Rich Moskal; comedian/actor Carl Wright; singer-actress Mary Randl, who moved back to Chicago from L.A.

Independent Filmmaker Day on Zoom November 18-19

Rubenstein Business Law and Ornstein Schuler State Film Tax Credits present Independent Filmmaker Day, held Live via Zoom on November 18th & 19th, 2020. IFD helps independent creators from around the world develop new projects, connect within the industry, and champion collaborative and impactful storytelling at all stages.  At each event, you will hear from acclaimed industry experts … Continue reading “Independent Filmmaker Day on Zoom November 18-19”

Michael Shannon responds to Snyder’s ‘Justice League’

Back in 2013, Chicago fave actor, Michael Shannon, played General Zod in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. While the Chicago-shot film was divisive, it still grossed in the neighborhood of $600 million. And no one has ever criticized Shannon’s portrayal of the Kryptonian general. Shannon, always the professional, has never had a bad word to … Continue reading “Michael Shannon responds to Snyder’s ‘Justice League’”

Nia DaCosta posts origin story for ‘Candyman’

Director Nia DaCosta has taken to Twitter to share a new promo for her Candyman reboot. The horror film was originally scheduled to be released on June 12, but has been pushed to September 25. DaCosta has shared an original short film teaser detailing his origins. The twist – the short retells Candyman’s origin utilizing paper puppets … Continue reading “Nia DaCosta posts origin story for ‘Candyman’”

Behind the scenes of the Chicago-made ‘Conrad’ series

Jennifer A. Goodman and Ryan Atkins traveled separate journeys before finding one another and partnering up to create Conrad, a highly anticipated Crime Drama television show that recently finished filming in Chicago. Conrad tells the story of Kate Conrad, a rookie police detective in a male-dominated environment who fights to prove the innocence of her … Continue reading “Behind the scenes of the Chicago-made ‘Conrad’ series”

Reese Witherspoon helps build female film careers

The Oscar-winning actress has teamed up with Fresh Films and AT&T to create a summer filmmaking lab for teen females   Though women make up 50% of moviegoers, they represent only 17% of creators in Hollywood, outnumbered by men in most roles within film and TV production, from writing and cinematography to production and editing … Continue reading “Reese Witherspoon helps build female film careers”

Fresh Films releases “Alternate Universe”

More than a year after premiering at a White House educational event in Washington D.C., Augustana College-based Fresh Films has released its second feature, Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission. Starring former Chicago actresses (and now, LA residents) Stephanie Barron and Anna Benuzzi, along with veteran actor Steve Guttenberg (3 Men and a Baby, Cocoon, Police … Continue reading “Fresh Films releases “Alternate Universe””

Long forgotten Christmas song cheers local composers

When most people think about holiday songs, the usual suspects come to mind — “White Christmas,” “Silver Bells” and “Let it Snow.” Grammy and Emmy-winning composer Paul David Wilson, however, sings a different tune.

Wilson’s tune, “Funky, Funky Christmas, is a little-known track he composed with musician Charles “Chuck” Colbert, Jr., a founding member of the ‘70s soul band Rufus and member of American Breed.

Ex-agency ECD Moore to direct for Dictionary Films

CUTTERS’ DICTIONARY FILMS division this week added Jon Moore, a former agency ECD/art director to its current directorial roster of six.  He was with Leo Burnett for more than 20 years before  joining mcgarrybowen, with Ned Crosley, as its first creative team when the agency opened here in 2009.

“Production was my favorite part of working on the agency side,” Moore says. “I thought, why not make the leap and put my art direction skills, literally in motion.”

Six weeks of non-stop TV show and feature filming

Regardless of what you want to call it – a perfect storm, a surfeit of riches – the next few weeks will be the “crazy busiest,” as Local 476’s Mark Hogan puts it, but he’s far from complaining.

Action started July 12, with the FX TV movie Powers and will accelerate the following weeks, five high-profile entertainment projects will be in some phase of production in and around Chicago.

Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal says we haven’t seen such activity since the late ‘90s, “when we had going three on-going TV series and numerous features.”

400 Chicago-L.A. folks partied at Windy City

WINDY CITY WEST’S PARTY Monday night in L.A. was the smash hit everyone expected from Brenda Sexton, whose Chicago-L.A. Link brought together 400 folks with Chicago connections jam-packed” at La Grande Orange restaurant in Santa Monica.

“We got rave reviews on everything, especially favorite food from Chicago which was fantastic,” an exhilarated Sexton told the Reel. To give the event a hot Hollywood vibe, TV cameras were placed around the room as guests were interviewed by columnist/Ch.

Hollywood makeup artist shares his secrets

HOLLYWOOD MAKEUP ARTIST MAURICE STEIN is helming a Local 476 makeup techniques seminar today through Monday at Essanay Studios, organized by member/makeup artist Helen Marchfield. Stein is best known for doing the makeup for the entire “The Golden Girls” TV series.

The seminar is another in the local’s series of continuing educational classes for members.

WOW! The A-list for Monday’s Sweet Home Illinois party in L.A., produced by Brenda Sexton’s Link Production for Chicagoans in the industry, has grown to stellar proportions.

Actor Pasquesi’s “Factory” series bow June 29 on Spike TV; we hear rumors about big possibilities

ACTOR DAVID PASQUESI’S TV SERIES, “Factory,” will bow June 29 on Spike TV, but Pasquesi may not see the premiere episode.

He is filming in Rome, in the super big-budget “Angels and Demons” from Imagine Entertainment and based on author Dan Brown’s prequel to “The DaVinci Code.”

The largely improvised “Factory” is about four guys ? Mitch Rouse, Jay Leggett, Michael Coleman and Pasquesi — who grew up together in the same small Illinois town and now work in the local factory.

Positive rumors that, if true, could boost our biz; SAG anniversary party deemed huge success

WE HEAR … and this is only a rumor, hearsay, unconfirmed talk and all that — BUT it’s being bruited about that Springfield might up the filmmakers’ tax incentive ante to 30% and give it a two-year life span.

We can certainly hope this becomes a reality, as we ? and possibly our legislators — see evidence of how our neighboring states are benefiting from their excellent incentives and how those advances could happen here, too.

Of 500 Emmy nods, 10 are non-station entries

There should be something for everyone in the upcoming 48th Midwest/Chicago Emmy Awards to be held Nov. 19 at the Thorne Auditorium.

Approximately 500 persons, shows and stations were nominated, and winners in 63 categories should go home happy at the end of what looks to be a long night.

Independent Production Roundup

HURT McDERMOTT has taken home another screenplay award for the dystopian thriller “Nightingale in a Music Box,” which he wrote and directed, the first feature for the distinguished playwright.

“Nightingale” just picked up the best script honor at the Brooklyn International Film Festival, following a similar award at last year’s Slamdance Film Festival. Kelley Hazen, Catherine O’Connor, and Andrzej Krukowski star. Todd Slotten and Leigh Jones produced.

See www.nightingaleinamusicbox.com.

Mercury theatre building set for March auction; Second City etc cast developing sitcom for Sony

The decade-long partnership between producer Michael Cullen and restaurateur Joe Carlucci has come to an end, and apparently not amicably. The two are co-owners of the choice property at 3741-47 N. Southport that houses Carlucci’s Strega Nona Restaurant and Cullen’s Bar & Grill, separated by the 300-seat Mercury Theatre operated by Cullen.

REELSCREEN: News & Notes

Three Hollywood stars from Chicago will be honored at Showtime’s 8th annual Black Perspectives “Homecoming Celebration” Saturday, Oct. 16 at Thorne Auditorium.

Honorees are Chicago resident, stage and screen veteran Irma P. Hall (“Collateral,” “The Ladykillers”), with nearly 50 films to her credit; Robert Townsend, with close to 20 films to his credit, including “Hollywood Shuffle,” “The Five Heartbeats;” and Harry J. Lennix, (“The Human Stain,” “Matrix Reloaded”).

Presenters are Bonnie DeShong, Stella Foster, Jeanne Sparrow and Robin Robinson.

Chicago International Film Fest pulls out all the stops for 40th anniversary celebration

The glitz and glamour of the Chicago International Film Festival (Oct. 7-21) ratchets up to ultra high as it celebrates its 40th anniversary, founded by artistic director Micahel Kutza, marked with more premieres, more star presentations, more special presenations and more parties than ever before.

Out of the 1,500 submissions received, 111 features and 54 shorts from 44 countries will screen. Of these two are world premieres, 13 North American premieres and 22 U.S. premieres.

Opening night (Oct.

Chicago’s 200 theaters in full swing

By Jonathan Abarbanel

A warm and cordial welcome to Jonathan Abarbanel, whose regular columns many of you will remember from the Original Screen magazine. The theatre maven extraordinaire will keep ReelChicago readers updated on Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene on a semi-regular basis.

THE NEW SEASON among Chicago’s 200-or-so theater companies is in full swing, with more than 40 theater openings in September and another 40-plus in October.