Debbie Allen, Jenifer Lewis & Marc Shaiman to Team on 'Sunset Boulevard' Homage VENTURA BOULEVARD
Indiewire reports exclusively that Debbie Allen and Jenifer Lewis are set to team up for an homage to SUNSET BOULEVARD to be titled 'Ventura Boulevard'. Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman (Sleepless in Seattle, The American President, Hairspray) will compose the score.
Lewis is set to star and executive produce the project to be helmed by Allen. Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke with pen the script for the dark comedy which follows "the life and career of an R&B diva, who, after several years of toiling away in obscurity, decides to organize a comeback."
Paying tribute to the 1950's Billy Wilder classic which centered on silent movie star Norma Desmond, Lewis' role is described as a "self-deluded queen of 1970's blaxpoitation movies who uses her guile, money and sex to manipulate a young white scriptwriter into creating her comeback part."
Said Lewis, "I am taking things into my own hands by producing 'Ventura Boulevard. The Hollywood establishment isn't going to finance a movie about a middle aged African-American diva who deceives and beds a young white man."
She also emphasized her desire to continue the ongoing issue of a lack of roles for female actors who may not fit a certain profile. "I love being everyone's favorite Hollywood mama, but I am ready to prove if you want something more, you have to make it happen yourself."
The project will reunite Lewis and Allen who previously worked together on the 1980's TV sitcom, A Different World. Lewis and Shaiman have also collaborated in the past on such films as Beachesand Sister Act. Shaiman and co-lyricist Scott Wittman wrote the show-stopping tune I Know Where I've Been, which Lewis performed in the Broadway production of Hairspray.
Allen is currently directing TV series including Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.
Casting is now underway for the project with production scheduled to begin this summer for a 2015 release.