|Rappers Mr. Cheeks and Trina star in “A Miami Tail,” now out on video from Lion’s Gate.
It was soon after 9/11/01 that FCB creative Colin Costello and creative assistant Stephanie Jorden came up with the idea of adapting Aristophanes’ classic Greek comedy Lysistrata into an urban screenplay.
“It just seemed like a natural, with all the violence that was going on the world, and the violence in these communities,” Costello said.
Barely two years later, Jordan and Costello have their first produced screenplay under their belts. Their script became the film “A Miami Tail,” which was released on video by Lion’s Gate in September.
“Stephanie brings a lot of soul and humanity to the work,” Costello said. “I bring the commercial aspect. When we were writing what was then ?A Brooklyn Tale’ she became the voice of the women and their morality, and I became the voice of the men. You put them both together and it had a truth and realism to it.”
Platinum-selling hip-hop diva Trina stars in “A Miami Tale” as Alicia Strada, leader of a group of gangland women who refuse to have sex with their boyfriends until the fighting in their neighborhood stops.
“We certainly had a message that we wanted to convey to our community,” said Jordan, “that if we want change we can’t rely on someone else to do it for us, we need to make the change ourselves.”
“A Brooklyn Tale” became “A Miami Tail” after Florida-based producer Roderick Powell discovered the script online. “Especially living in Chicago, the Internet has become such a huge selling tool,” Costello said.
Powell optioned the script in March 2002, then arranged financing through Florida’s Breakaway Films, after the script was a finalist for two awards at the IFP Market that year. Directed by Melvin Jones (“Honeybee”), “A Miami Tale” was released under a distribution agreement between Lion’s Gate and Breakaway’s parent company, Maverick Entertainment.
After the film was greenlit, Costello and Jordan stayed out of the loop until the premiere at the American Black Film Festival in June of this year.
“It’s very surreal,” Costello said. “You picture it a certain way, and suddenly it’s up on the screen and you see people saying your lines, and you see people saying lines you didn’t write. At points I was blown away by the whole experience. It’s not like watching your commercial on TV. You’re seeing this with hundreds of people who have come there just to see your movie.”
Costello hopes to remain more involved the next time around, and he hopes that next time around is soon. While he still works as an agency creative, now with Burrell, he and Joren have a few projects in the works, both together and separately. They’re collaborating on “The Bridge,” a Chicago-set thriller adapted from Ambrose Pierce’s Civil War short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” “I swear it’s the last historical adaptation we’ll do,” Costello said. Jorden is on her way to Los Angeles to pitch “The Bridge.”
Costello’s horror script “Bedbugs” is back on the market after “Hairspray” producer Adam Epstein let his option lapse. “Bedbugs” made the top ten at the Screamfest horror script contest in LA, and Costello is “back in negotiations.” And with original “Survivor” cast member Gervase Peterson, Costello is pitching a few ideas to CBS for pilot season.