You loved Love and Basketball and Secret Life of Bees and wondered why it was taking so long for writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood to make another movie. Well, finally, she has. It’s called Beyond the Lights and stars Gugu Mbatha- Raw of Belle fame as well as Nate Parker (The Great Debaters) and Brit actress Minnie Driver.
At first, when we heard about the story of a singer who falls in love with an ordinary guy we thought “So VH1 movie” but this looks like it’s a step above that.
Bythewood told EW.com that part of the delay getting the movie out was the debate over who would play the lead. The studio wanted, naturally, a big star. Bythewood wanted the best actress for the role. Eventually the original studio, Sony, pulled out and Bythewood cut a deal with BET and Relativity Media to do the film, which heads to theaters November 14.
“It was so nice to sit in a room and not hear that the lead is a Black woman and she’s not going to sell,” Bythewood said. “Rather they said, ‘We think she’s a star, who do you want for your male lead?’”
It kind of worked out for Bythewood, since Mbatha-Raw is on the rise after her well-received turn in Belle, a must-see.