[The script is] penned by Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke, the same writing team behind Lewis' cult classic Jackie’s Back!. The 1999 comedy directed by Robert Townsend chronicles the life and career of an R&B diva, who, after several years of toiling away in obscurity, decides to organize a comeback.
Ventura Boulevard is described as a darkly comedic homage to the 1950 Billy Wilder classic Sunset Boulevard, starring Lewis as a self-deluded queen of 1970’s blaxpoitation movies who uses her guile, money and sex to manipulate a young white scriptwriter into creating her comeback part.
"I am taking things into my own hands by producing Ventura Boulevard," said Jenifer Lewis, who promises a film that touches on hot social issues, like aging, race and deception. "The Hollywood establishment isn’t going to finance a movie about a middle aged African-American diva who deceives and beds a young white man."
"It's a comedy classic in the making," director Maurice Jamal told R20 after the news was announced Friday. Jamal directed the 2006 drama Dirty Laundry which featured Lewis, Rockmond Dunbar and Loretta Devine. That project was also produced by Nathan H. Williams.
"It is going to be amazing," Williams told R20. "And, as Jenifer said yesterday, Ms. Debbie Allen is already going surgical on the script and production. Hope y'all are ready!"
Allen is currently directing episodes of several television series including Shonda Rhimes' Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Allen will become the second Black female director of the hit series that stars the amazing Kerry Washington. Middle of Nowhere director Ava DuVernay directed a critically-acclaimed and highly-watched episode of the popular series earlier this season.
I am soooo here for Ms. Jenifer Lewis. Bravo and congratulations to Lewis, Debbie Allen, Nathan Hale Williams—"Haaay"—and the entire Ventura Blvd team. Watch the trailer to the cult classic Jackie's Back! and Lewis' brilliant advice to aspiring actors at the premiere of Baggage Claim AFTER THE JUMP ...