Jun 30, 2014

Idris Elba stars alongside Taraji P. Henson in the Sam Miller-directed “No Good Deed,” for which the trailer was released Thursday. Henson plays a former district attorney whose home and children are threatened when Elba’s character talks his way into her house under the guise of having a broken-down car.

Elba also exec produced the Screen Gems thriller with Rob Hardy. Aimee Lagos wrote the screenplay. Will Packer produced “No Good Dead,” which was originally set to release earlier, but was pushed back to avoid conflict with another Packer title, “Ride Along.”

Elba’s profile has continued to rise in Hollywood, especially since starring in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.” He was featured in “Thor: The Dark World” and will voice Shere Khan in Disney’s “The Jungle Book” reboot.

“No Good Deed” is set to bow Sept. 12.

It was 2007 and Alicia Keys was singing “Diary” at the Hollywood Bowl when inspiration struck writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball) for her new movie Beyond the Lights, the tale of a perfectly packaged pop star, played by Belle‘s Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who’s been groomed for stardom from a young age by her overbearing, opportunistic mother (Minnie Driver).

The movie spent years in development while Prince-Bythewood, who helmed 2008′s Secret Life of Bees, argued with Sony Pictures over her lead actress. “The studios wanted a big star, and I wanted the right person for the role,” says Prince-Bythewood, who hired her own casting agent to find Mbatha-Raw. “There is an innate vulnerability in Gugu. And you can sense her star power. That’s what we needed to believe–that she could be Rihanna or Beyonce.”

Once Sony put the project into turnaround, Prince-Bythewood produced her own eight-minute presentation of Mbatha-Raw as her lead and found her financiers in BET and Relativity Media.

“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,” she adds. “Rather they said, ‘We think she’s a star, who do you want for your male lead?’”

Prince-Bythewood chose Nate Parker (Non-Stop, Red Tails) for that role, and the cast and crew convened in Los Angeles and London last September to shoot.

For Mbatha-Raw, currently earning raves in the period piece Belle, it was a chance to explore the darker side of a glamorous industry. “When you are groomed into these shiny music-industry acts from a young age, there are a lot of identity issues,” she says. “It’s about the psychological expectations of fame.”

Beyond the Lights will debut on Nov. 14.



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