EXCLUSIVE: Vondie Curtis-Hall Directing Paul Robeson Biopic


"Black Nativity" director Kasi Lemmon, left, and her husband, actor and director Vondie Curtis-Hall, arrive at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival's opening night premiere of her film "Talk to Me." (Photo: AP/Gus Ruelas)

Vondie Curtis-Hall will direct the upcoming Paul Robeson biopic with shooting set for early next year.

“Robeson” is being produced by Richard Akel through his Four Stars International in association with Fred Pittman and his Brookdale Entertainment Group.

Project has been in development since early this year with South African director Darrell Roodt attached to helm and David Harewood on board to play the lead. Roodt is no longer attached and producers have opted to read other actors for the role.

Robeson, born in 1898, was a singer, actor and orator from the 1920s through the 1950s best known for his acting in “Othello” and his singing of “Ol’ Man River.” Robeson’s political activism brought him to the attention of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, leading to the revocation of his passport for eight years despite his contributions as an entertainer to the Allied forces during WWII.

Curtis-Hall, who began his career as a singer/dancer on Broadway in the original production of “Dreamgirls,” has feature acting credits in “Black Nativity” and “Cymbeline” and in TV for “Chicago Hope,” “Criminal Minds,” “Boston Legal” and “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” His director credits include “Waist Deep,” “Gridlock’d,” “Abducted: The Carlina White Story,” “The Starter Wife” and “Redemption: the Stan Tookie Williams Story.”

Pittman said, “In my view, Paul Robeson is one of the greatest Americans in history, and arguably the most accomplished, in view of his many achievements and contributions not only in the United States but also internationally.”

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