Jennifer Hudson joins cast of Spike Lee’s “Chiraq”

Jennifer Hudson

THE LATEST STAR to join the cast of Spike Lee’s “Chiraq” is Jennifer Hudson, who appears along with fellow Chicago natives John Cusack, Common, and Jeremy Piven. Samuel L. Jackson also stars.  Filming starts Monday, June 1 through July 15. 

The anti-violence musical comedy is based on Aristphanes’ 400 BC Greek play, “Lysistrata,” wherein women withhold sex to force their men to end the Peloponnesian war, with Chicago as the location instead of Athens.

The company’s sizeable local union crew is based out of Cinespace Studios, and will shoot mostly in Englewood and South Side locations.  

IM Global is financing the film and new Amazon Original Movies will handle US distribution.  (Maybe a Chicago premiere could be arranged?  Guests of honor would be all the aldermen who protest the movie’s title and wanted the state to withhold its tax credit.)

NEW ON STORY’S ROSTER for national representation for commercials is versatile director/DP Rich Michell, whose credits include 3M/Scotch, General Mills, Target, Subway, UnitedHealthCare and Wendy’s.  A recent spot for 3M features a Post-It note sticky enough to hold a terrier off the ground.

Michell comes to STORY following a long run with Twist, Minneapolis, a company he co-founded with a strong national and regional client base.

Michell calls his move to STORY as an opportunity to expand his horizons, noting his interested in increased access to the Chicago advertising market. “Many of the best restaurant and packaged goods accounts are based there,” he says.

NEW AT HAVAS WORLDWIDE: Todd Nonken has joined as managing director of the agency’s Citi account, its largest and longest-running client relationship.  He moves from DDB where has SVP/Integrated Brand Leader for North America on the McDonald’s business, winning a 2014 Cannes Lion as “Creative Marketer of the Year.”  Other brands he’s managed include Nestle, Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, Ford and YUM! Brands.

NOW AIRING: A colorful live action/animated 30-second spot 

 created by Optimus Design for the Shedd Aquarium’s “Amphibians” exhibit, that opened recently for a limited time. The creatively designed visuals display  variety of shapes, colors and sizes of animals encountered in the exhibit.

The creative team led by Donnie Bauer, who also edited, shot  footage of 18 different Amphibian species, including a Giant Japanese Salamander, and emphasized their peculiar nature with animated type and graphic design. See the spot here

A BRONZE TELLY AWARD went to Michael Walters Advertising for its “True Blue” piece for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. Winners were selected from entries from all 50 states and five continents.

The “True Blue” campaign launched in Montana during the Super Bowl was designed to reemphasize the insurance company’s brand and market position for more than 80 years, during the new insurance open enrollment period.

Says agency founder/president Ken Lakowske, “Even after 25 years of being in business, the thrill of being acknowledged for our ‘big ideas’ never gets old.”  
WE REELY WANT YOUR NEWSGet in front of ReelChicago’s ever-expanding readership with your company’s news. Established or new shop, global enterprise or startup, it’s all part of the mix we deliver.  Send your Email to