Hollywood, January 23, 2014 – Jenifer Lewis, who is known as the Black mother of Hollywood, today announced she will executive produce and star in “Ventura Boulevard,” a new feature written by the team behind the cult classic “Jackie’s Back!” Emmy and Golden Globe winner Debbie Allen is attached to direct. The film will be scored by Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner Marc Shaiman, who is a five-time Oscar-nominee. “Ventura Boulevard” is a darkly comedic homage to “Sunset Boulevard,” starring Lewis as a queen of 1970’s blaxpoitation flicks who manipulates a young white scriptwriter into creating her comeback part.
Lewis is one of the most familiar faces in Hollywood, boasting more than 300 movie and TV credits. In September, she appeared in “Baggage Claim” (Fox Searchlight) and will appear in two upcoming releases from Sony Pictures: “Think Like A Man Too” and “The Wedding Ringer.”
Lewis and Allen last worked together more than 20 years ago on “A Different World.” Currently, Allen directs and stars in “Grey’s Anatomy” and will soon add “Scandal” to a long list of directing achievements. In 2013 Allen wrote, directed and choreographed her musical “Freeze Frame,” which premiered at The Brisbane Festival.
“Ventura Boulevard” also reunites Lewis and Shaiman, who worked together in films such as “Beaches” and “Sister Act.” In addition, Shaiman scored and wrote songs for “Jackie’s Back!” For “Hairspray,” Shaiman and co-lyricist Scott Wittman wrote the showstopper “I Know Where I’ve Been” for Lewis, who sang the ballad in the show’s Broadway production.
“Ventura Boulevard” was written by Mark Alton Brown
and Dee LaDuke (“Jackie’s Back!,” “Girlfriends” and “Designing Women”). Lewis’ production partners are Nathan
Hale Williams (iN-Hale Entertainment) and Carol Ann Shine. The producers plan to shoot this summer and release the movie in 2015.