A portrait. That’s all it took for British producer Damian Jones to know he wanted to make the movie that turned out to be Belle. He also had the perfect person to direct – Black British director Amma Asante. But a movie about a little known Black member of the British aristocracy, with a Black female director?

Forget it, he was told. Fortunately for film fans, he didn’t.

Asante went on the direct the film, the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, with Gugu-Mbatha Raw in the title role and with British writer Misan Sagay, also female, as the film’s screenwriter. The movie, in limited release, has gotten rave reviews. Mbatha-Raw told the Tom Joyner Morning Show that she was proud to be a part of the project.

“It’s spreading slowly but surely and expanding and we’re really, really excited,” she said. “I don’t know exactly how many screens but we’re expanding and Memorial Day we’re going nationwide,” Raw says. “It was a wonderful experience with a female director, writer and actor and such a female-centric story as well and a great romantic story.”

Initially, the film was going to HBO, but when that fell through, the British Film Institute stepped in and helped Belle get made. For her part, Asante is proud that women make up the bulk of the significant behind the scenes players on the movie. In an interview with The Huffington Post, she talked about being proud to facilitate that happening.

“My stories are about women, so why not have women help make them?”

Belle is in theaters now in limited release, but will go nationwide Memorial Day Weekend.

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4 thoughts on “‘Belle’ Movie Draws Buzz, Expands To More Theatres

  1. Rala on said:

    I will not get tired of the slave movies or any other movie showing African American talent, history and or art. There was a time when Blacks weren’t even included in a movie or TV program or Album cover. Wake up! There are still programs where you don’t even see a Black face. So what Roots is 12 hours compare that with the years and years of movies without African American People. Stop complaining and do some homework on your Black History and maybe you’ll come to respect the fact that we are on the big screen and in television shows even if it is another slave movie. Some shows don’t have Black People or people of color at all and we are everywhere in society welcome to the real world.

  2. Camella Jenkins on said:

    Another bi-racial child/grandchild of a slave owner. Who was it that said it’s too many slave movies out there now? I agree. Roots was/is enough, it’s a 12 hour movie for goodness sake, watch it over and over again it still top the others which is plenty.

  3. Paris on said:

    I want to see this movie. It’s a story that has not been told before but we all know happened. I’m adding this move to my movie list this spring and summer.

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