Tag Archives: WGN America

Fans create #RenewUnderground and #PickupUnderground in wake of WGN’s shocking cancellation

Aisha Hinds as Harriet Tubma (WGN America)

With a move that was a shock to many fans, WGN America cancelled its flagship scripted program Underground.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network cancelled the hit program because of a new direction.

In the wake of parent commpany Tribune Media’s $3.9 billion planned acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group, the cable network’s future as a destination for high-end scripted originals is over. And that includes the pricey and critically lauded slave drama produced by Sony Pictures Television[.]

‘Despite Underground being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction and we have reached the difficult decision not to renew it for a third season. We are tremendously proud of this landmark series that captured the zeitgeist and made an impact on television in a way never before seen on the medium,’ Tribune Media president and CEO Peter Kern said Tuesday in a statement.

He continued: ‘We thank the incomparable creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and the great John Legend, along with the talented creative team and cast who brought the unsung American heroes of the Underground Railroad to life. We are grateful to the loyal fans of Underground and our partners at Sony Pictures Television. It is our hope that this remarkable show finds another home and continues its stories of courage, determination and freedom.’

It should be noted that BET and OWN, two networks that seem like they’d be chomping at the bit to get Underground, have passed on the show, citing cost concerns.

EP John Legend said this on Twitter in regards to the show’s cancellation:

“WGN America has been bought and is going in a different direction strategically. We will find a new home for Underground! Content wins. We’re not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We’re so proud of our show and the audience that supported!”

Legend also added a word of caution about the Sinclair Broadcast group, which All Hip Hop describes as a “conservative mediaa company that is purchasing local televisions tations across the country.”

“Be wary of Sinclair though,” wrote Legend. “They’re trying to make local stations mini Fox Newses, but more to the right.”

Co-creator Misha Green has also written on Twitter her commitment to finding a new network for the show.

“We appreciate the outpouring of fan support,” she wrote. “…[W]e’re determined to find a new network for #Underground.”

As Misha alluded in her tweet, the fans have expressed their outrage at Underground’s cancellation, developing the hashtags #RenewUnderground and #PickupUnderground.

https://twitter.com/BrandonMatsalia/status/869698762788052992

Personally, I was expecting something like this to shake out in regards to Underground‘s cancellation. I’d read some stuff earlier this year about WGN’s potential acquisition, and after the network’s other highest rated show Outsiders this year for much of the same reason as Underground, I could see that the writing was on the wall.

However, I say this with heaviness. I have a personal connection to this show, seeing how it was one of the shows I recapped in its first season while I was a member of the now-defunct Entertainment Weekly Community Blog. Through that, I was able to speak to Alano Miller, who plays Cato, as well as make inroads with the PR team for the show. It was a lot of fun to be able to recap a show that spoke to me and my people’s struggles in this country and add my perspective to the conversation. (Being a black southerner, you’d better believe I have a lot of perspective to give.)

While I know it’s not my fault that the show has been cancelled, I wish I could have been able to give it more shine in its second season. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I’ve had quite a rough 10-12 months personally, and to be honest, my mind is just now getting back to some sense of normalcy. A lot of the turmoil prevented me from getting into the series this season, as well as the seasons of other shows I’ve wanted to cover. Also, I’d read that there was a storyline about spousal abuse, and even though Underground is a show that can trigger a multitude of hard-to-deal-with emotions, seeing on-screen abuse is one of the things I try to avoid, despite it being a topic that needs to be discussed on Underground in regards to how, in the historical context of slavery and segregation, several black men unleashed their anger and frustration at being emasculated by white men on their wives. Critics have their personal limits as well, and abuse–physical or emotional/psychological–is one of mine.

But, with that said, it would have been great to give this show the support it needed in its second season. Would they have still cancelled it? Yeah. If they cancelled Outsiders, which was about white folks in the forest, they would have cancelled a show like this without hesitation, which is what they did. I hope that Underground can find a home with a network or streaming service that will do the show and its characters justice. Since BET and OWN both passed on the show due to cost (as to why OWN did that move in particular strikes me as odd, seeing how Oprah has Ava DuVernay onboard Queen Sugar), lets hope a network like AMC, which is used to higher-budget shows like Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Into the Badlands, or a streaming service like Hulu or Netflix can sweep it up. (I know folks aren’t feeling Netflix right now because The Get Down was cancelled, but a show can get where it can get.) It should be noted that Hulu has been reported by Deadline as being a possible new home for the show.

Or, if those options don’t work, then the last resort could be to go to premium networks like HBO, STARZ or Showtime, both of which have shows with huge budgets. For instance, American Gods is currently doing well with STARZ, and its storyline is both esoteric and slightly non-linear for conventional audiences. I would think Underground could do well there.

In any event, let’s hope we see Underground again, because in these times, it’s necessary to be reminded of how the original sins of this country are still going unrecognized.

Amirah Vann Becomes Regular on “Underground” Season 2

Underground, Season 1, Episode 101 Photo Credit: /Sony Pictures Television
Underground, Season 1, Episode 101
Photo Credit: /Sony Pictures Television

Watching WGN-America’s first season of Underground was a delight in so many ways, and Amirah Vann was one of the main reasons for tuning in each week. Fans of Vann know her as Ernestine, the intelligent, strategic “mistress” of her master Tom Macon, whom (spoiler alert) she killed after he killed her oldest son Sam just for political gain. Last we saw her, Macon’s widow Suzanna sold her to get back at her. Now, we don’t know who what will happen to Ernestine or her youngest son, James, who is back at the plantation under Suzanna’s care.

What you might not have realized is that Vann wasn’t listed as a regular during the first season. For as much script and scenery she was given, apparently she was still just a recurring actress. During the second season, though, she’s been upgraded. Vann is now a regular on the show.

Vann’s role on the show will continue to be one of the shining lights of the series; last season, critics praised her for the levels she provided her character. To quote the release:

Vann, who portrayed the head house slave who will do anything to protect her children, was heralded for her performance by critics as “one of the breakthrough roles of the season” (Huffington Post); “captivating as Ernestine, the duplicitous and wise head house slave and Rosalee’s mother” (Essence Magazine); “spellbinding” (Wall Street Journal); and  “tremendous” (Entertainment Weekly).

Vann’s promotion to regular status comes on the heels of the official casting of Harriet Tubman, Aisha Hinds. Hinds’ Tubman will take Rosalee on as her apprentice of sorts, enlisting her to help with the trek of going back to the south to save more slaves.  Also, the upcoming season will see America getting closer to the beginning of the Civil War. “The new season of the 10-episode Underground Railroad thriller follows an unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice,” states the release.

Here’s more on Underground:

“Underground” delivered 3 million Total Viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever in its freshman season.  The series was honored with screenings across the country including the White House and ranked as the #1 most discussed cable drama on social media each week it aired.  From creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and executive producers John Legend, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius and Emmy® -nominated director Anthony Hemingway, “Underground” season two will premiere in early 2017 on WGN America.

Starring in the celebrated “Underground” season two cast are Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”) as Rosalee;  Aldis Hodge (Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures) as Noah; Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) as August Pullman; Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”) as Cato; ‎Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”) as Elizabeth Hawkes; Amirah Vann (“Girls,” And So It Goes) as Ernestine; Aisha Hinds (“Under the Dome,” “True Blood,” Star Trek Into Darkness) as Harriet Tubman; and Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”) as John Hawkes.

This summer, “Underground” was featured at the NAACP National Convention, where the series and its stars received a standing ovation at the National Underground Railroad Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.  “Underground” was also highlighted at the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Conference in Washington DC with a panel discussion on the social movement “Underground” has become.

“Underground,” which tells the unflinching story of some of America’s valiant heroes—enslaved people who risked their lives to reach freedom—was recently honored with three CableFax Awards, including Best New Program, Best Historical Show/Series and Best Showrunners, Misha Green and Joe Pokaski.

What do you think about Underground? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

 

“Underground”: Dish Network Removes WGN America, Provokes Jesse Jackson’s Ire

WGN America has hit gold with its newest drama, Underground. But for whatever reason, Dish Network decided to take WGN America out of its lineup of stations.

Jesse Jackson has released a statement through his Rainbow Push Coalition, condemning Dish’s removal of the station. In part, the statement reads:

In the letter, Reverend Jackson states that DISH has undervalued the series’ record-setting ratings and African American viewers in much the same way “the old south counted African Americans as three-fifths of a man.”

DISH’s decision to force WGN America off its distribution system is especially troubling since high-quality programs like “Underground”—in which the African-American characters are heroic, their struggle inspirational, and the audience diverse—don’t make it to air very often. When they do, they should be celebrated, not put at risk as DISH has recklessly done.

The negotiations between Dish and Tribune, the parent company of WGN America, have deteriorated, which led to Dish taking WGN America off. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dish stated that “Tribune rejected its offers for an extension during negotiations.” Dish also stated that Charlie Ergen, the head of Dish, “invited Jackson and Tribune CEO Peter Liguori for a meeting on Thursday for what ‘could be a sharing of ideas that would have allowed Dish and Tribune to reach an agreement that was fair to our subscribers and to Tribune.'” However, Dish asserts that Jackson and Liguori didn’t respond. “Having passed on an opportunity to get all the facts and having issued a press release after that meeting was scheduled to occur, we are skeptical that Rev. Jackson is truly interested in finding a fair deal for DISH consumers,” states the company.

It also appears tensions appeared between Dish and Tribune originally because of Dish feeling like WGN America ran an ad that was against Dish. Dish has now filed suit against Tribune Broadcasting, the branch of Tribune that’s directly over WGN America, stating a breach of contract as the reason. According to the suit (as reported by The Hollywood Reporter), Dish claims that WGN America aired commercials that “cast DISH in an extremely negative light…that Dish has not acted in good faith, that it’s performance and services are the worst in the indutry, and even that DISH is a ‘disgusting’ company.”

From an outsider’s perspective, this all seems childish. And frankly, this childish stuff is robbing too many people of the lessons Underground can teach.

Maryland Senator Catherine Pugh reflected this sentiment in her article for The Huffington Post, “Dish Network and WGN America’s Underground,” writing:

“Shows like ‘Underground’ have value far beyond the ratings and advertising revenue they generate for the companies that produce, air and distribute them. Make no mistake, however, “Underground” is very, very popular–often the No. 1 show on cable Wednesday nights.”

Underground shouldn’t be caught in the middle of this money-laden fracas. Let WGN America stay on the air, Dish Network! Let its fans see it unencumbered.

Here’s Jackson’s statement in full:

Washington, D.C., June 24, 2016 – This week, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. sent a letter to DISH Chairman and CEO Charlie Ergen, firmly supporting Tribune Broadcasting’s request to put its stations and WGN America back on the air by reaching a fair-market deal between the two companies. Reverend Jackson underscored that “WGN America is deeply committed to sharing positive portrayals of African Americans” as illustrated by their critically acclaimed hit series “Underground,” which tells the unflinching story of some of America’s most heroic freedom fighters—the slaves who risked their lives to reach freedom and claim their civil rights.

In the letter, Reverend Jackson states that DISH has undervalued the series’ record-setting ratings and African American viewers in much the same way “the old south counted African Americans as three-fifths of a man.”

DISH’s decision to force WGN America off its distribution system is especially troubling since high-quality programs like “Underground”—in which the African-American characters are heroic, their struggle inspirational, and the audience diverse—don’t make it to air very often. When they do, they should be celebrated, not put at risk as DISH has recklessly done.

Reverend Jackson is looking forward to discussing this issue in greater detail with Mr. Ergen.

Four Reasons “Underground” is Must-See Television

Did you watch WGN America’s Underground Wednesday night? I did, and it was everything I’d hoped it would be, and it still surprised me with just how much information and action they managed to pack into an hour. I was so tense throughout the hour, I was tired afterwards.

There are multitude of reasons to be a huge fan of Underground, but I’ll provide you with four great reasons you should watch the show and use it as a platform to deepen your understanding about slavery and the issues that continue to plague America.

1. Underground makes slavery relevant to today’s issues again

Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Photo credit: WGN America
Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Photo credit: WGN America

The one thing that has hurt slavery narratives in the past is that they were always told in a past, passive tense. Slavery is something that ended roughly 200 hundred years ago, but some of the narratives put in the media about slavery would make people think that the effects of slavery aren’t in effect today. Surprise, surprise for those who didn’t know this, but the effects of slavery have always been effect because there’s still two Americas within the same country. There’s still the feeling that one aspect of America doesn’t want to listen, or doesn’t care to listen, to other viewpoints. The after-effects of slavery show themselves in economic inequality, police brutality, white flight in neighborhoods, gentrification in urban areas, pay inequality, the denial of basic human rights both in the justice system and in social aspects (like allowing Flint, MI residents, many of whom are black, to drink lead-filled water from the polluted Flint River while Detroit gets its water from a different source).

What Underground does through various modes of storytelling and the usage of modern music (Kanye!) is bring slavery back to the present. Making the story modern makes the injustice that much more difficult to watch, and you can’t help but think about how this hateful practice of slavery still reverberates today. I think the handling of the characters and the story will make even the most casual and most “colorblind” of viewers wake up and think about what’s going on today and how they may or may not be playing a part in the continuing degradation of a people. In short, it’ll make folks think if they’re part of the solution or part of the problem.

2. Underground puts slaves at the forefront of their own story

L-R: Alano Miller, Aldis Hodge, Theodus Crane. Photo credit: WGN America
L-R: Alano Miller, Aldis Hodge, Theodus Crane. Photo credit: WGN America

The most annoying thing about some films about slavery or discrimination in general is that the “good” white people are put at the center of the story. Daniel José Older (who I’ve interviewed on JUST ADD COLOR before!) wrote for Salon that the Oscar-lauded 12 Years a Slave still had a white savior narrative with Brad Pitt’s character Bass saving Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Solomon Northup:

“About three-quarters through the movie Brad Pitt suddenly sohws up and, essentially, saves the day. Never mind that Pitt is also one of the film’s producers…In this otherwise monumental and groundbreaking film, written and directed in the age of stop-and-frisk and ‘stand your ground,’ of Trayvon and Aiyanna and Marissa and Renisha, did we really need yet another white savior narrative? We absolutely did not.”

Older also brings up Lincoln, which featured the idea that Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln alone fought for the rights of slaves, instead of showing the layered and multi-faceted effort it took to get Lincoln to actually consider ending slavery, an effort which involved abolitionists like Frederick Douglass.

“Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ erased Frederick Douglass, reinforcing the tired notion that a singular white man, through the sheer force of his moral conviction, brought slavery to an end. In ‘Lincoln,’ ans in ’12 Years,’ this cliché not only hobbles the film’s cultural relevancy, it is a narrative failure as well.”

The Help isn’t about slavery, but it still put Emma Stone’s character and her book writing journey at the center of the story, when the real story is about how these maids have been surviving amid the unchecked racism and unearned privilege of their white women “employers.”  In all of these stories, the feelings of white America—of wanting to absolve white guilt, of wanting to appease an injured ego still coming to terms with slavery itself—are at the center, when their feelings, while valuable, aren’t the feelings we should be focusing on in these stories. The characterizations should revolve primarily around the characters who are most oppressed, the characters who are facing these uphill battles on a daily basis. The focus on the white experience of learning about oppression is also another thing that keeps some slave movies stuck in a passive tone; the act of an outsider looking into a new world is a passive one, since the outsider can throw away the experience at any point. The act becomes more of a professorial anthropological exercise than one actually immersing themselves to the point of a complete understanding. A call to action doesn’t come from studying a group from afar; it comes from feeling akin to that group, feeling like your well-being depends on their well-being.

Having the oppressed tell their own story is what gives a show like Underground its power. There are two white characters that do become part of the Underground Railroad, but it already looks like they aren’t set up to be “white saviors,” necessarily. They are part of the cogs of the Railroad, but the show isn’t depicting them as being the initial catalysts. In fact, the characters exemplify the difference between viewing slaves and slave rights as an anthropological study and feeling the call to action to actually help them. John Hawkes starts out as an abolitionists of sorts, but he’s still advocating for the law, which was set up to go against black people in the first place. Elizabeth, his wife, is initially against him advocating for slave rights, but once she visits John’s brother, the evil plantation owner Tom Macon, she sees a boy fanning her from the rafters. That boy, combined with her own desire for a family, changes her mind completely about slave rights. She finally sees herself in them and feels that call to action, which spurs her husband on to do the same. But, they are working in conjunction with slaves securing their own freedom; they’re not acting as shepherds herding a flock.

L-R David Kency, Jessica De Gouw, and Marc Blucas. Photo credit: WGN America
L-R David Kency, Jessica De Gouw, and Marc Blucas. Photo credit: WGN America

The slaves themselves, not John and Elizabeth, are the leads of this story. Aldis Hodge’s Noah is the one who is hell bent on getting to freedom, and he’s not planning on going alone; he’s taking a group of slaves with him. Jurnee Smollett-Bell’s Rosalee is, of course, going to go with him, but we see her come to terms with her place on the plantation and how clearly not-free she is, even though she works in the Big House. Much of this realization comes when Suzanna Macon, the “lady” of the house, starts talking about selling Rosalee’s little brother James. (Of course, there’s going to be the big realization that Rosalee and James are both Tom and Rosalee’s mother Ernestine’s children.) The slaves decide for themselves how they want the rest of their lives to play out, and they take action to make their dream of freedom come true. This makes Underground stellar television as well as a stellar take (and more truthful take) on the slave story.

(For another slave story with slaves actually at the forefront of their story, check out this Atlantic article on the film Sankofa.)

Click to read the latest issue!

3. Underground highlights the insidious nature of white privilege

(L-R) Amirah Vann and Reed Diamond. Photo credit: WGN America
(L-R) Amirah Vann and Reed Diamond. Photo credit: WGN America

There are many scenes that are terrible to watch, but the scene that probably made me want to throw up the most was the juxtaposition of the little baby’s funeral (the baby who was killed by its mother, who didn’t want it to grow up in slavery) to the birthday of Tom and Suzanna’s daughter Mary. That, coupled with the family sitting down at dinner and being waited on by the house slave staff just made me want to scream to the rafters. But these scenes are also important because it shows how ugly the phenomenon of white privilege is. Or, to put it another way for those who get blindsided by that term, I’ll use a phrase I’ve already used in this post: unearned privilege.

For those who either hate/feel offended by the term “white privilege” or don’t understand what it means, here’s the definition, per the students of The Social Construction of Whiteness and Women class at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (The page itself is housed by Mount Holyoke College):

White privilege is a set of advantages and/or immunities that white people benefit from on a daily basis beyond those common to all others. White privilege can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its presence and it helps to maintain the racial hierarchy in this country.

The biggest problem with white privilege is the invisibility it maintains to those who benefit from it the most. The inability to recognize that many of the advantages whites hold as a direct result of the disadvantages of other people, contributes to the unwillingness of white people, even those who are not overtly racist, to recognize their part in maintaining and benefiting from white supremacy.

The definition goes onto give examples, such as interpreting types of dressing, manners of speech, and general behaviors as being “racial neutral” when in fact, as the definition states, “they are white.” It ends with this:

“…White privilege is having the freedom and luxury to fight racism one day and ignore it the next. White privilege exists on an individual, cultural, and institutional level.”

The definition also quotes James Baldwin, who stated, “Being white means never having to think about it.”

What is great about Underground is that it makes a point to show not just how extreme white privilege can be in how it excused and upheld slavery, but how it works its way into even the most well-intentioned of people, like Elizabeth and Tom, who still have the option to decide if they want to help slaves or not, and for a while decided not to help slaves for the sake of building a family. White privilege is something that needs to be worked out of the American system. The sooner the better, because all of us are Americans and deserve true equality, not a system based on antiquated, racially-based ideas.

4. Underground is just plain good

L-R: Aldis Hodge and Alano Miller. Photo credit: WGN America
L-R: Aldis Hodge and Alano Miller. Photo credit: WGN America

What else can I say? It’s terrific. It’s got no commercials, for one. Second, John Legend has proven himself to be a fantastic executive producer with this show; I’m still waiting on more news about that Thomas-Alexandre Dumas film. Third, it’s got a great cast: Aldis Hodge, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Alano Miller, Amirah Vann, Jessica De Gouw, Renwick Scott, Mykleti Williamson, Marc Blucas, Reed Diamond, Adina Porter, Theodus Crane, Johnny Ray Gill and Christopher Meloni, to whom I tweeted this:

Because weren’t we all rooting for Stabler to bop heads and take names? (There’s still time to stop being a wildcard and get on the right side of history, August Pullman! But his character also proves a point about white privilege; August can choose to play both sides—tricking the slave woman trying to escape by pretending to be a freedom fighter—solely for his own benefit.)

What do you love about Underground? Give your opinions below, and make sure to watch Underground Wednesdays at 10/9c on WGN America.

Diversity Alert: “Star Wars: Episode VIII”, Ava DuVernay, “Roots” and “Underground” TV Trailers+ More

There’s a couple of big ticket items to discuss! Topping the list is Star Wars: Episode VIII, Ava DuVernay’s projects, and some trailers from Roots and Underground.

Star Wars: Episode VIII

The biggest news of this week is the beginning of filming for Star Wars: Episode VIII! John Boyega, who just won a Rising Star BAFTA the night before filming, tweeted out this declaration Monday.

 

Other big news surrounding Episode VIII is the additional casting. Coming to the already diverse cast list are Benecio Del Toro, Laura Dern and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran, who has worked with Sarah Hyland in XOXO and has various TV credits, including TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything and NBC’s About a Boy.  

Star Wars released this official production announcement, which is also marks the start of the Star Wars hype machine once again. 

Ava DuVernay’s film and TV projects

Ava DuVernay is doing major things right now! First, she’s working with Oprah on the OWN adaptation of Queen Sugar. The first table read happened Sunday, and DuVernay chronicled it on Twitter:

Also, DuVernay is in contention to direct two films: the film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (a very creepy book, if you ask me), and Intelligent Life, a sci-fi thriller potentially starring Lupita Nyong’o. The latter film is what’s exciting me the most, since black women in sci-fi is still a revolutionary thing to see (Nyong’o also’s got her sci-fi scorecard filled up thanks to Star Wars, but even in that, she’s simply voicing a character, not appearing as herself on screen, something a lot of viewers took issue with). But all of this directorial news is encouraging, given the #OscarsSoWhite climate we’re in. DuVernay’s upcoming jobs are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to Hollywood fixing its diversity-behind-the-camera problems, but her opportunities do show that 1) Hollywood can act responsibly when it feels like it; it’s ineffectiveness is just mostly due to laziness and status-quo thinking over anything and 2) that the talent of people of color (in this case, women of color) can and will be recognized, despite the fractured systems that were created to keep them out and on the sidelines.

Roots and Underground

The trailers for History’s Roots remake and WGN’s upcoming slave series Underground have left me impressed, and I’m sure you’ll be just as impressed by them as well. Below are the trailers as well as the Underground first look. On a shallow note: Kunta Kinte’s turbans are my favorite things ever. Roots premieres Memorial Day; Underground premieres March 9.

(Read about my EW Community articles about the original Roots and the upcoming Underground here and here!)

The Danish Girl

If you loved The Danish Girl, it’s coming to DVD/Blu-ray March 1. If you want to rewatch it even earlier than that, the digital download will be available Feb. 16.

Here are the pertinent deets via Universal Pictures’ press release:

With love comes the courage to be yourself in The Danish Girl, coming to Digital HD onFebruary 16, 2016, and Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand on March 1, 2016, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Inspired by the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, the remarkable love story is “a cinematic landmark,” according to Variety’s Peter Debruge. The Danish Girl on Blu-rayand DVD comes with an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the film. The Focus Features release is nominated for four Academy Awards® including Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander), Best Costume Design (Paco Delgado), and Best Production Design (Production Designer, Eve Stewart; Set Decorator, Michael Standish).

Academy Award® winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Academy Award® nominee Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) star for Academy Award®-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech and Les Misérables). In the 1920s, a strong and loving marriage evolves as Gerda Wegener (Vikander) supports Lili Elbe (Redmayne) during her journey as a transgender woman. Through the other, each of them finds the courage to be who they are at heart. “Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander are sensational!” declares Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz, while Debruge of Variety raves, “Redmayne gives the greatest performance of his career.”

Also starring Ben Whishaw (Skyfall), Sebastian Koch (Homeland), Amber Heard (Zombieland), and Matthias Schoenaerts (Far from the Madding Crowd), The Danish Girl is a moving and sensitive portrait that Lou Lumenick of The New York Post calls “a remarkable and timely story.”

BLU-RAYTM AND DVD BONUS FEATURE:

  • The Making of The Danish Girl – Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Tom Hooper, and others on the filmmaking team share some of the creative processes that enhanced the beauty of the movie.

Want to read more about diverse entertainment? Read the February issue of COLOR BLOCK Magazine!
 

Casting News:

Zhang Ziyi to Star in ‘East/West’ Comedy for Universal

American Gods Author Neil Gaiman on Why Casting The 100s Ricky Whittle as Shadow Is So Vital 

Idris Elba in Talks for the Lead in The Mountain Between Us

John Ridley’s ABC Pilot ‘Presence’ Casts Marcus Anderson

Archie Panjabi to Star in ABC Anthology Drama ‘The Jury’

Other News:

How a Bruce Lee Origin Tale Is Taking Flight With Chinese Money and Abundant Diplomacy

Sundance Fights Tide With Films Like ‘The Birth of a Nation’

The Magicians’ Arjun Gupta on Hollywood Diversity and Penny’s Portrayal in the 4th Episode

What do you think of these stories? Give your comments below!