News Brief

Chiwetel Ejiofor in Negotiation to Portray Bishop Carlton for Netflix Biopic ‘Come Sunday’

'Come Sunday' is based on the true story about evangelical minister Carlton Pearson featured in a 2005 This American Life episode.

What if hell isn't a place you could go after you die? What if it doesn't exist at all?


That’s the conclusion Tulsa, Oklahoma evangelical minister Carlton Pearson arrived at in 2004, which led to his disparagement by his peers who labeled him a heretic. The minister eventually lost everything, including his church. The cataclysmic event set Pearson on a path to rediscover himself, the importance of family as well as the renewed strength to rebuild his church.

It’s a compelling true-story that has been featured in a "This American Life" episode in 2005, and is now the subject of Netflix’s forthcoming flick Come SundayThe Hollywood Reporter reports Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is currently in talks to portray Pearson in the adaptation based on the episode and screenplay by Marcus Hinchey (All Good Things).

Chiwetel Ejiofor via Facebook

If the 12 Years a Slave breakout star signs on he will join Robert Redford, who will play Oral Roberts, a TV evangelist pioneer who mentored Pearson, for the Joshua Marston-directed (Maria Full of Grace) production.

"This American Life's" Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp, as well as Endgame's James D. Stern, are producing.

Previously veteran actor Jeffrey Wright was slated to play Pearson in the delayed project, formerly titled Heretics.

Production is scheduled to begin in January.

You can also catch Ejiofor starring as Baron Karl Mordo in Doctor Strange, arriving in theaters in November.

If you missed the "This American Life" episode on Pearson, listen here.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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