Wendell Pierce

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The New Orleans-shot political drama starring the infamous and universally reddit-adored Nic Cage, has been acquired by Alchemy. Alchemy will have distribution rights in North America for New Orleans-shot The Runner.

The Runner was written and directed by Austin Stark. The cast includes American Horror Story‘s Sarah Paulson, New Orleans-natives Wendell Pierce and Bryan Batt, Connie Nielsen and Peter Fonda. This indie film has small budget but created a very impressive cast.

Cage will play an idealistic but imperfect politician who undergoes a sex scandal that destroys his career. The Runner will serve as the directorial and writing debut of Austin Stark. Noah Millman, Ruth Mutch, Sam Bisbee, Tom Conigliaro, Galt Niederhoffer and Todd Cohen will all serve as executive producers.

Source: Variety

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Wendell Pierce in ‘Brothers From The Bottom’

by Jordan McGuire on May 6, 2015

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Brothers from the Bottom will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and star Tony Award winner Wendell Pierce in a limited engagement. Here’s the press release: 

Following their acclaimed Brooklyn run, the award-winning Billie Holiday Theater (BHT) at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) Stage Company join forces to present the Post-Katrina play set in New Orleans, Brothers from the Bottom, starring Wendell Pierce who also joins this team, as a producer. The limited engagement, in commemoration of the 10th year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, will run from June 5 – 28, 2015 at the Lupin Hall at NOCCA.

Brothers from the Bottom, written and directed by BHT Artistic Director, Jackie Alexander, deals with the hot button topic of gentrification. In the play, a real estate project threatens the fabric of a New Orleans neighborhood, and unravels the bond between brothers. In this “naturalistic play,” “the acting stands way above the flood line.” With a “terrific” performance by Mr. Pierce and a “particularly exuberant” performance by Kevin Mambo, the play is “ground[ed] by the actor’s sensitivity and verve. The neighborhood may need renewal and repair. These performances don’t.”  – New York Times

Wendell Pierce, an accomplished Julliard trained actor, has conquered all realms of media with critically praised performances in theater, film, television and broadcast radio. The TONY, Emmy, Obie and Peabody winning actor and producer is best known for his portrayals on HBO’s ground breaking television series’ The Wire and Treme. Pierce was also in this year’s Oscar nominee for Best Picture, SELMA. Pierce will also soon be releasing a personal memoir, THE WIND IN THE REEDS, an insightful and poignant portrait of family, New Orleans and the transforming power of art (RIVERHEAD BOOKS / Sept. 8th, 2015). Pierce states, “The 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is a significant moment in the recent history of our country.  Brothers from the Bottom does what art does best: challenge, elevate and illuminate the conversation.”

The cast includes two-time Emmy Award winner Kevin Mambo, who played the title role in Fela! on Broadway, as well as Toccarra Cash, Thaddeus Daniels, Wendell Franklin andMegan Robinson.

Brothers from the Bottom, writer and director, Alexander, is a prolific award winning actor, writer, producer and director for theater and film.

With: Original Music: Edward Anderson and Darrell Lavigne (Bleu Orleans); Set Design: Felix Cochren (Broadway credits: Amen Corner, Inacent Black, Home); Assistant Set Designer: Patrice Davidson; Costume Design: Helen Simmons-Collen; Lighting Design: Joyce Liao; Sound Design: Douglas Forbes; Stage Manager: Norman Smalls

NOCCA Stage Company is excited to provide this once in a lifetime chance for NOCCA students to work directly with these incredible artists that are part of Brothers from the Bottom. Work on set building and staging, masterclass rehearsals begins in mid-May which provides the perfect big picture insight to the students in the Theatre Arts Department at NOCCA.  NOCCA is proud to be part of this incredible moment that will shape the local theatre scene for many years to come.

Tickets and Showtimes

The Billie Holiday Theatre at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, NOCCA Stage Company and Wendell Pierce present

BROTHERS FROM THE BOTTOM

Hurricane Katrina 10th Anniversary: Commemorative Performances

Written and directed by Jackie Alexander

Starring Wendell Pierce* and featuring Kevin Mambo*, Toccarra Cash*, Thaddeus Daniels, Wendell Franklin* and Megan Robinson*

Show Times: June 5 – 28, 2015; Fridays at 8 pm | Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm | Sundays at 2 & 7pm

Lupin Hall at NOCCA, 2800 Chartres St., New Orleans, Louisiana

TICKETS: General Admission: $30.00 / Seniors and Students with ID: $25.00

Buy tickets online at www.thebillieholiday.org or call: 504.940.2800

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Wendell Pierce will play Clarence Thomas in HBO’s rendition of the 1991 Supreme Court nomination hearings.  The New Orleans native will star opposite Kerry Washington in Confirmation, a new project from HBO Films. Washington will portray Anita Hill.

The 1991 confirmation hearing for now-Justice Thomas were big news nearly twenty-five years ago, described as “a circus” by the actual Anita Hill, who accused Thomas of sexual harassment. The aftermath played out in the media for months and included a dramatic conclusion on the hearing floor. Obviously, Thomas was eventually confirmed, but the road there was anything but dull. We’ll spare you the spoilers-for-real-life for now.

Kerry Washington will star in and executive produce the film. Erin Brockovich scribe Susannah Grant will write and executive produce. Michael London and Janice Williams will join her as executive producers. Michael London also has the Louisiana-shot drama Astronaut Wives Club  set to debut. Rick Famuyiwa will direct Confirmation and production should get under way by the end of May.

Wendell Pierce was raised in Pontchartrain Park, a neighborhood that was wiped out during Hurricane Katrina. Pierce attended Ben Franklin High School and then graduated from New Orleans Centre for Creative Arts (NOCCA). He appeared in various Tulane productions as a college student then attended the Juilliard School of Drama. He’s held roles in Treme, The Wire, The Odd Couple, Ray Donovan and Joel Edgerton’s directorial debut The Gift.

Check out Scene‘s exclusive interview with Wendell Pierce here. There is no current release date for the film yet but, in the mean time, check out Wendell’s The Wind in the Reeds, his story about Hurricane Katrina.

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An Interview with ‘Get Hard’ Star Paul Ben-Victor

by Alexandra Fraioli on March 27, 2015

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Paul Ben-Victor has his roots in the New York theatre. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Ben-Victor made the transition from east to west coast early in his career. Scene spoke with him while shooting Emmett/Furla Films’ Empire State, a film set in New York but shot in New Orleans. “I started off a little bit in New York,” said Ben-Victor. “I started off on the off-off-off-off-off  Broadway thing for about a year. I got some early commercials in New York… the original Levi’s 501 Blues campaign. And then I got shipped off to L.A. to do a Dodge Boy campaign commercial. I did a bunch of those. The weather was great. I didn’t have any allergies out there.”

His budding film and television career grew during his early years in Los Angeles. “Back lots had no security,” Ben-Victor recalls about getting his start in 1980s Southern California. “I’d sort of walk on and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to walk in this building.’ ‘Alright.’ I’d walk in, I’d introduce myself. I did my monologues wherever I wanted to, an office here, an office there. Some guys said, ‘Come on in. You’d be good. Go in at four o’clock for a show called L.A. Law.’ I got my first guest on L.A. Law, and the rest is history. I started doing a scene here, an L.A. Law here, a Cagney and Lacey, a China Beach and a movie there. I became a member of the Actors’ Studio out there. I did a play by a playwright named Lyle Kessler who wrote Orphans.”

Though his career seemed to be developing rapidly, it wasn’t without growing pains. “Twenty years ago, I was confused, I was less happy,” remembers Ben-Victor. “A little nuttier, a little angrier. I burned some bridges that I regret doing back then. Just being a little cockier. But there was nobody to teach me otherwise. I had to learn these things alone.”

Perhaps Ben-Victor’s biggest break came when he was cast in the HBO drama The Wire, also starring Wendell Pierce. “That was probably one of the most exciting times of my life, in terms of career,” he says. “That was probably one of the most exciting times of my career so far because I was doing several things at the same time. I had written a play with my mom that was playing in a beautiful theatre, The Hayworth Theatre in L.A. At that time it was called The Good Steno, but we’re changing the name to This Little Jew Girl. Morty is this horrible villain, and I play Morty. So it’s a great play, and I was doing that. And then I get an offer to do The Wire, which was the greatest offer at the time. I don’t know how exactly that happened but [The Wire casting director] Alexa Fogel… I owe her a lovely gift that’s long overdue.”

“[Alexa] was amazing. She made that happen,” says Ben-Victor. “I don’t know how, but I get a call saying, ‘Paul, you start shooting next Monday. Get on a plane to play this Greek guy.’ I was doing Entourage at the same time, and I was doing The Good Steno, In Plain Sight. There was a lot of stuff happening that year. I was overwhelmed doing theatre, TV and film all at the same time. It was a great time.”

Now a veteran actor, Ben-Victor has gone back to his roots, again collaborating with his mother, but this time as a writer. “It’s Should’ve Been Romeo,” says Ben-Victor. “I co-wrote it with my mom. She’s a playwright, Leah Kornfeld-Friedman. We started writing it fourteen years ago, based on a summer stock play I did thirty years ago. [It was] Romeo and Juliet where I played Benvolio. When I should’ve been Romeo, but I was Benvolio. So it was the seed and wrote a draft, then kept writing new drafts. Greg Ferkel is another writer that came on board and myself. And then my friend Michael Goldberg came on board, who wrote Cool Runnings and Snow Dogs. Big family film writer. And that’s what this is: it’s a wonderful, funny, lovable little family story. We wanted to make a funny movie, a lovable feel good movie.”

“Over the years it just evolved and evolved and evolved and we finally put it together,” he continued. “And it stars Ed Asner, Carol Kane, Michael Rappaport, Alanna Ubach and Evan Handler. Kelly Osbourne has a  wonderful cameo in it. Mary McCormack from In Plain Sight has a cameo. It’s chock full of cameos! We needed Tina Majorino (True Blood), so I think we had to work around her schedule for the movie. She’s wonderful. Again, she has a cameo, and then she turns around and hits it out of the park. Everybody does. Costas Mandylor is in it. Natasha Henstridge and I go back to the Van Damme movie we did twenty years ago, Maximum Risk. Evan Handler and I did The Three Stooges together. We became and are still very close friends. Matt Winston, he did In Plain Sight. It’s a wonderful thing to call your old friends and say, ‘Hey, could you come do a day for us? Could you come do a couple days?’ And they go, ‘Sure, when should I show up and where? If I’m in this country, I’ll get there.’”

There’s more!

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wendellWith Treme coming to an end in its fifth and final season, the New Orleans native Wendell Pierce is moving on. Pierce is set to co-star alongside Michael J. Fox on Fox NBC’s comedy series, which has a 22-episode lineup for this fall. The comedy is based off of Fox’s real life and he leads the show as Mike Burnaby, a husband and father of three living in New York and dealing with Parkinson’s disease. Formerly a lead anchor for a news station, Mike decides to go back to work after a break dealing with his disease. Pierce will play Harris, Mike’s boss, a twice-divorced man, who is rumored to be inspired by Pierce. Will Gluck is expected to direct the pilot. To see our interview with Wendell Pierce, view our digital issue here.

Source: Deadline

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Wendell Pierce: New Orleans’ Favorite Son

by Micah Haley

Born and raised in New Orleans, Wendell Pierce is one of the most lauded creatives ever to emerge from Louisiana. A veteran actor of stage and screen, Pierce is perhaps best known as Detective Bunk Moreland on David Simon’s The Wire, an HBO series frequently cited as the best television drama of all time. Pierce […]

TEASER: HBO’s ‘Treme’ – Season 3

by Arthur Vandelay

Starring New Orleans native Wendell Pierce, the third season of HBO’s New Orleans-set drama Treme has arrived, promising more story from the Danziger Bridge coverup circled in season 2. The new season premieres on September 23.

HBO sets premiere date for ‘Treme’

by Elizabeth Glauser

The third season of HBO’s Treme is set to premiere Sunday, September 23rd. The New Orleans-set drama follows the rebuilding of the historic city after Hurricane Katrina. David Morse, Melissa Leo, Wendell Pierce, Steve Zahn and more star in the series from The Wire creator, David Simon.

Los Angeles Film Festival 2012 Winners

by Morgan Charlesworth

Film Independent is the non-profit arts organization that presents the Los Angeles Film Festival and Spirit Awards.  This year’s festival ran from June 14-June 24. The winners were announced this past Sunday. In the category of Best Performance in the Narrative Competition the award went to Wendell Pierce, Emory Cohen, E.J. Bonilla and Aja Naomi King for their performances in […]