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Quick Takes: 'Black Nativity' reborn

January 30, 2013

Fox Searchlight Pictures has commenced production in New York on the musical "Black Nativity," director Kasi Lemmons' adaptation of the 1961 Langston Hughes play.

The cast of the all-black interpretation of the Nativity story includes Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Luke James and singers Jacob Latimore and Nas.

Lemmons also wrote the screenplay with lyrics and arrangements by rhythm and blues singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq.

"This is a universal story of faith and family, a marker of our times, and an endearing Christmas tale, infused with music from hip-hop to R&B to gospel," Lemmons said.

—John Horn

Academy given poster trove

Chicago real estate developer Dwight Cleveland has donated more than 1,000 vintage movie posters from his collection to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The posters, documenting the studio era of "B" movie filmmaking from the first half of the 20th century, feature a variety of genres including westerns ("The Revenge Rider" and "Heart of the Golden West"), war films ("Friendly Enemies" and "Somewhere in France") and musicals ("Breakfast in Hollywood" and "Girl From Rio").

The posters will be housed in the academy's Margaret Herrick Library.

Cleveland, 52, has been collecting posters since 1977, when he was in high school in North Andover, Mass., and had spent the last few years searching for a buyer for his 11,000-piece archive, which he said was valued at $3.5 million.

—Nicole Sperling

Kennedy Center buildup planned

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington is planning its first major expansion since it opened in 1971 as a "living memorial" to President John F. Kennedy, with new features including pavilions to house rehearsal halls and classrooms, a memorial garden and a floating stage on the Potomac River.

The plans unveiled Tuesday call for a $100-million addition that would create a livelier outdoor space for gatherings and performances.

Officials plan to raise private funds to build the project. To kick off the capital campaign, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein is giving $50 million to fund half the cost. Officials hope to open the new space in 2018.

—Associated Press

Salinger bio announced

Reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be given the full biography treatment, thanks to Shane Salerno, David Shields and Simon & Schuster. Shields and Salerno's "The Private War of J.D. Salinger" will be published by Simon & Schuster in September.

In addition to the book, a new documentary by Salerno, "Salinger," will appear as part of PBS' "American Masters" series.

The author of "The Catcher in the Rye" and three other books famously withdrew from public life in 1953 and for more than 50 years closely guarded his privacy, including suing to prevent one biographer from using material from his unpublished letters. He died in January 2010.

—Carolyn Kellogg

Strike those 3-D 'Star' returns

The Millennium Falcon is changing course.

Now that "Star Wars" has a new studio home, a new movie in the works and a new director, other adjustments are in store for the franchise: Lucasfilm is postponing this fall's scheduled 3-D re-release of "Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones" and "Episode III — Revenge of the Sith."

The changed plans don't come as a huge surprise: Last year's 3-D re-release of "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" grossed only $43 million, demonstrating that audiences had little appetite to see the films in the format.

—Rebecca Keegan

Barbara Walters returns home

Barbara Walters appears to be on the mend after a rough 10 days that involved the newswoman taking a spill, cutting her head, developing a fever and, to top it off, getting a rare case of adult chicken pox.

According to an update Tuesday from ABC News, the 83-year-old Walters is finally at home and resting comfortably.

The network didn't say when she might return to "The View."

—Patrick Kevin Day


Renewals: Five cable series are getting new seasons: Showtime's "Shameless," "House of Lies" and "Californication," BBC America's "Ripper Street" and Cinemax's "Banshee."

Daytime: CBS has renewed its entire lineup of daytime series for the 2013-14 season: "The Young and the Restless," "The Bold and the Beautiful," "The Price Is Right," "Let's Make a Deal" and "The Talk."

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