WGN AMERICA HOSTED ADVANCED SCREENING of #Underground on #PassionateSpot


Los Angeles, February 10, 2016 – WGN America hosted an advanced screening of the first episode to their original series Underground premiering Wednesday, March 9 at 10pm. The screening was held in the “windy city” at Chicago’s landmark, the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Following the screening, Aisha Harris of Xfinity.com moderated a Q&A panel with Underground stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge. As a surprise audience visit, Smollett-Bell’s brother Jussie Smollett attended the well received event in support of his sister.

From creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and executive producer and Academy Award-winner John Legend, the 10-episode, hour-long program follows a group of courageous men and women who use their ingenuity, power and perseverance to attempt the greatest escape in history and break free, despite the dire consequences that awaited them on the other side.


In WGN America’s “Underground,” a courageous blacksmith Noah (Aldis Hodge) covertly organizes a small group of his fellow slaves and pieces together a daring plan of escape across hundreds of miles to freedom.  The odds of success are razor-thin for those who make it off the plantation, while the risks, dangers and obstacles multiply each step of the way.


“Underground” features an acclaimed cast, including Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”), Christopher Meloni (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), ‎Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Marc Blucas (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), ‎Adina Porter (“The 100”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”), ‎Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”), Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”), Chris Chalk (“Gotham”), Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Theodus Crane (“The Walking Dead”), Renwick Scott (“Treme”) and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”).


“Underground” is created by Misha Green (“Sons Of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil,” “Heroes,”) who executive produce alongside Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” “I Am Legend”) of Weed Road Pictures; and Joby Harold (“King Arthur,” “Edge of Tomorrow”) and Tory Tunnell (“King Arthur,” “Holy Rollers”) of Safehouse Pictures.  Visionary artist and producer John Legend, an Academy Award, Golden Globe® and multi-Grammy Award winner, and his Get Lifted partnersMike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius executive produce.  Additionally, Get Lifted oversees all elements of the show’s music.  Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and serves as executive producer for the first four episodes.


The “Underground” full-length trailer can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nOEUogI7pQ.



Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan Will Reteam For ‘Creed’ – A 7th Film In ‘Rocky’ Franchise #PassionateSpot

Wow! Just when you thought the Rocky franchise was dead (the last film was released in 2006), MGM plans to revive it; BUT, this time, the focus will be on the grandson of Apollo Creed – the character played by Carl Weathers in the first 4 Rocky movies.

And who just might play the grandson? None other than Michael B. Jordan, star of 2013’s indie darling Fruitvale Station.

Oh, and by the way, his director on that film, Ryan Coogler, will come along for the ride, to direct (and co-write the screenplay with Aaron Covington), what is currently being called Creed.

Deadline says MGM is in early talks with Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed, with Sylvester Stallone returning to reprise his role as Rocky Balboa, but this time, as a retired fighter-turned-trainer.

Apparently, this has been a dream project for Coogler – one that he shared with Stallone after signing with WME, who loved it; the pair then took the idea to MGM brass and they loved it as well, and the rest is history.

The story for what will be the 7th film in the franchise will see Michael B. Jordan play the grandson of Apollo Creed, raised in a wealthy home, living off his grandfather’s earnings, but who, despite his family not wanting him to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, has the desire to do so, as well as the natural gifts and potential that his grandfather used to become a heavyweight champion… that is until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s Rocky II. Creed’s grandson seeks a mentor to help train him, and, of course, that mentor turns out to be Balboa himself (Stallone), who is no longer interested in the sport, and apparently needs to be convinced to help get Creed’s grandson prepped and ready to get in the ring.

The plan is for this to be Coogler’s next film, after Fruitvale Station, and expectations are for the project to move ahead quickly.

I can’t say that I’m immediately excited about the idea. While I’m glad to see both Coogler and Jordan graduate to what will likely be a pricier, higher-profile studio project, I’d prefer something original, fresh and new, instead of the 7th film in an age-old franchise that really should be buried at this point.

But let’s wait and see what develops here. Coogler’s take might be a surprise to the upside, while still staying within the mythology of the franchise that made the earlier films so well-loved.

Congrats to the dynamic duo! Maybe we’re seeing the makings of a future Spike Lee/Denzel Washington director/actor pairing.

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