I finally saw Smokin' Aceson DVD this past weekend, and for what it is -- basically a feature-length expansion on the ending to True Romance -- I kinda liked it. One of my favorite things about it is Alicia Keys, who I figured would simply be another recording artist making an unworthy movie debut. But I loved both her performance and how gorgeous she looked. Now I'm looking forward to her acting career, which continues later this year with a co-starring role in The Nanny Diaries, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Laura Linney. She may have another part lined up, too, now that her production company, Big Pita, Little Pita, has picked up a project titled Catfish.
The script for the project, written by newbie Charisse Waugh, was unveiled at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, and the deal has been made through the Tribeca Film Institute's Tribeca All Access program, which allows new filmmakers from unrepresented communities to build relationships with film execs. The script's focus is the true story of a small-town Mississippi woman who spearheaded the biggest strike in U.S. history. The Variety article doesn't mention what strike is represented, but I easily assume, mostly because of the title, that it is the 1990 Delta Pride Catfish strike, which was organized by 44-year old grandmother Sarah White. The story has already been the subject of a little-known documentary called Standing Tall, directed by Donald Blank.
Because of the film's pitch and because of Keys' outfit in Smokin' Aces, my imagination has me thinking of this as another Erin Brockovich, but due to White's age at the time of the strike, I doubt Keys will be playing the lead. Maybe she would fit better as White's daughter instead, or a fellow striker. Either way, I hope she does appear. Also, I'd like to suggest a director: Barbara Kopple. Sure, she hasn't been too successful with narrative films (except for making Anne Hathaway's male fans happy), but there's no filmmaker who has better documented the goings-on of a strike, whether it feature miners (Harlan County U.S.A.) or meat packers (American Dream). Maybe she could even win her third strike-related Oscar.