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Aldis Hodge on Working with Tom Cruise and His Love for Watchmaking

LA CONFIDENTIALThe mega-hot, multi-multi-hyphenated Aldis Hodge is grabbing the H’wood spotlight… one role at a time.

 

He’s an actor, painter, and… watchmaker? LA-based Aldis Hodge, 29, is gearing up for his biggest year yet. Starting at age three, Hodge first began as a model, and has built up his portfolio with a slate of primo roles—from Straight Outta Compton to the John Legend–produced TV series Underground. “Some call it luck, but, really, a lot of it is just hard work,” he says. And the A-list-ready actor is gaining momentum—up next he’s playing opposite Tom Cruise in October’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. “Tom knows how to pull the best out of people,” says Hodge, who is currently filming Hidden Figures with an all-star cast including Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner.

 

The self-proclaimed “gypsy” was homeless for a period of time and lived in several states before settling in LA. “When I tell people I was homeless, it’s to inspire them,” Hodge says. “Even in the worst situations, you smile because that means you have more strength to push forward.” And push forward he did. Through a college course, Hodge discovered his passion for watchmaking. “Art has always been there for me,” says the “actor-preneur,” who is currently working with a luxury Swiss watchmaker to manufacture his hand-designed timepieces. “[All my work] is a step to whatever the big picture is,” he says. “I’m just excited to see what lies ahead.”

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Filed in Article Public events Underground

‘Underground’ Featured at The NAACP’s 107th Annual Convention

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks and “Underground” Stars Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Amirah Vann and Creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski to Co-Host the President’s Reception, Monday, July 18

 

Underground Railroad Escape Series Set for First-Ever Screening at the Renowned National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in the Harriet Tubman Theater

 

“Underground” Stars to Host the NAACP ACT-SO Awards, Sunday, July 17

 

BROADCASTING CABLE – Los Angeles, July 12, 2016 — WGN America’s acclaimed series “Underground,” which follows a courageous group of American heroes who attempt a daring flight to freedom from slavery, has teamed with the 107th NAACP Annual Convention, July 17-18 in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Underground” creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and stars Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Amirah Vann, will co-host NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks’ reception for more than 1,500 NAACP convention delegates, where the cast will be featured speakers at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Monday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. Preceding the reception at 4:30 p.m., the cast and creators will participate in a red carpet screening of the Underground Railroad escape series for the first time at the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater, and reunite with Freedom Center President Dr. Clarence G. Newsome for a moderated discussion, a follow up to their joint panel at The White House earlier this year.

 

The “Underground” stars will also host the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Awards Ceremony highlighting more than 1,000 best and brightest students from around the nation who have risen to become finalists after competing against thousands of other high school students in a year-long achievement program. “Underground” cast members Hodge, Vann and Miller, a previous ACT-SO award winner, will present the awards to be streamed live on ACT-SO’s YouTube Channel on Sunday, July 17 at 12:30 p.m. at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

 

Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” took the country by storm this year, sparking a nationwide conversation and igniting Twitter as the #1 most social cable drama each week it aired. The series trended worldwide on the same day the U.S. Treasury Department announced Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, a move applauded by the cast and creative team who have traveled the country speaking about the Underground Railroad’s relevance to today.

 

From executive producer John Legend and creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, “Underground” tells the unflinching story of some of America’s most heroic freedom fighters—slaves who risked their lives to reach freedom. The first season of “Underground” delivered 3 million Total Viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever. Season two will begin production this summer for a 2017 debut.

 

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Filed in Article Hidden FIgures

Janelle Monae says film on black women at NASA key part of history

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CTVNEWS – NEW ORLEANS — Janelle Monae says she’s honoured to be part of an upcoming film that tells the little known-story of three black women who were crucial part of NASA’s history, including one who helped John Glenn become the first American to orbit earth.

 

The Grammy-nominated singer is making her big screen debut in “Hidden Figures,” which tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson — three women who worked at NASA in the 1960s.
“It is so important, that we as women, African-American women, tell our stories,” Monae said. “These three women opened doors for us and literally helped change the world.”

 

“Hidden Figures,” stars Taraji P. Henson as Johnson; Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer as Vaughan and Monae as Jackson. The women were mathematicians and Johnson helped calculate the trajectory for Glenn’s orbit around earth, among other accomplishments. The cast also includes Aldis Hodge, Kevin Costner and Kirsten Dunst. Segments of the film were shown to fans Friday at the Essence Festival, the annual four-day music festival geared toward black women.

 

Monae and Hodge, who plays Noah on WGN America’s hit series “Underground,” spoke afterward.
Monae said she cried when she received the script.

 

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Why WGN’s Underground is an Emmy Contender

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HUFFINGTON POST – For every generation, there is a television show that audaciously attempts to tackle history in a way that the American public hasn’t yet seen. In the 1970’s it was Alex Haley’s Roots, and for this generation, it’s Misha Green and Joe Pokaski’s WGN Drama, Underground.

 

As the show revels in its Season 2 renewal, the team behind it has launched a campaign to be considered in the upcoming round of Emmy considerations. But with a show that addresses such sensitive and intense subject matter, their efforts carry a special significance.

 

A few weeks ago, WGN America and Sony Pictures Television hosted a gospel brunch and exclusive pilot screening for Academy members. As audience members filed into the Beverly Hilton, the excitement was palpable.

 

The brunch kicked off with a power-packed performance from Jason McGee and The Choir, who delivered moving renditions of “Ride On, King Jesus” and “Walk Over God’s Heaven.” With each song, they set the atmosphere for the resilient and triumphant tone of the show. Shortly afterward, we watched the pilot episode, which opened with none other than Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.”

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Filed in Article Underground

Underground Renewed for Season 2

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TVLine – Noah, Rosalee, Cato et al are going to keep on running, now that WGN America has renewed Underground for a 10-episode Season 2.

 

To date, the freshman slave escape thriller is averaging a million weekly total viewers and a 0.3 demo rating — numbers that with Live+7 DVR playback swell to 3 million and 1.0. Underground improves on the cabler’s 2015-16 primetime average by 508 percent in total audience and by 1,005 percent (!) in the demo, in Live+7 numbers.

 

“[Underground is] a series that has resonated with so many passionate fans across the country,” WGN America president Matt Cherniss said in a statement. “We are deeply proud of the work that the talented cast, crew and production team have done to bring this story to life, led by our gifted creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and our partners at Sony Pictures Television. It is an honor to have Underground on our air and we look forward to how the story will unfold in what is sure to be a stellar sophomore season.”

 

Production on Season 2 begins this summer with an eye on a 2017 premiere date. The Season 1 finale airs Wednesday, May 11 at 10/9c, preceded by an all-season marathon at 1 pm.

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Underground – Sony’s Press Release Announces ‘Season 1’ of the WGN Drama

From TVShowsOnDVD:

Underground_S1“…a prestige drama…action-adventure

tale…” – Stuart Miller, Newsweek

WGN America’s Captivating
Scripted Series

UNDERGROUND:
SEASON ONE

Arrives on DVD June 14

Includes Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes,
Commentaries and Gag Reel and more!

 

Culver City, CA (April. 18, 2016) – WGN America’s critically acclaimed new drama UNDERGROUND: SEASON ONE arrives on DVD June 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) and Tribune Studios. The suspenseful UNDERGROUND series – executive produced by Academy Award and GRAMMY Award winner John Legend (2014, Best Original Song, Selma) – is a compelling story of bravery, ingenuity and power. Legend, with executive producers and Get Lifted Film Co. partners Mike Jackson (Southside with You) and Ty Stiklorius (Breaking Through), oversees all music aspects of the gripping 10-episode journey, which follows a group of slaves striving for their freedom from the Macon plantation in 1857 Antebellum, Georgia. As they plan to escape, the immense sacrifices and uncertainty of where to go and who to trust will test those who have the courage to leave and decide who has the endurance to survive.

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Hollywood on the Potomac: John Legend’s ‘Underground’

John Legend’s WGN series starring Aldis Hodge explores the Underground Railroad

 

WASHINGTON LIFE – Music superstar John Legend has a lot on his plate these days: The White House just held a special screening for his new WGN “Underground” series; he’s carrying on heated Twitter exchanges with Donald Trump Jr. on racism; and he’s expecting his first child with his wife, model Chrissy Teigen. We focused on “Underground.”

 

According to producers, the film centers on a group of slaves planning a daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation. Along the way, they are aided by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad during their attempt to evade the people charged with bringing them back, dead or alive.

 

Legend and his production company were in charge of the score and soundtrack for the series and Legend served as executive producer. “I believe the story of people brave enough to risk everything for freedom will be inspirational,” he says.

 

We spoke to cast members prior to the White House screening, a smart, introspective, engaged group who gave us their take on the relevance of the series in today’s world as well as the significance of this underreported sequence of events during the revolt against slavery.

 

We focused on Aldis Hodge … think “Straight Outta Compton”… who brilliantly portrays Noah as he leads his fellow slaves in a daring escape on the Underground Railroad.

 

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Filed in Article Underground

4 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Underground

TV GUIDE – In the past five years alone, we’ve seen slavery depicted in 12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained and, coming this summer, a remake of Roots – all of which portray the same painful piece of American history in different lights.

 

That’s why, ahead of Underground’s March premiere, some wondered aloud, “Do we really need another slave story?” Not only do these stories reopen old wounds, the argument goes, but they feel limiting — especially when a conversation about opportunities for people of color on screen is at center of Hollywood’s consciousnesses. Haven’t we seen plenty of black actors being whipped, begging and running?

 

Underground’s creative team understands those questions.

 

“That’s out there – that some people definitely felt some fatigue.” says Misha Green, creator, writer and executive producer of Underground. “We’ve heard all the hesitation. We say, “Just show up for the episodes.’ It’s worth coming back to week after week.”

 

She’s very much right.

 

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‘Underground’ Blazes WGN Ratings Record In Debut

DEADLINE – Underground set a record as WGN’s highest performing original series ever in its launch last night. The 10 PM airing drew 1.4M total viewers to rank No. 5 among all scripted series premieres on cable this broadcast TV season. The premiere’s 585K adults 25-54 ranks No. 7 in the TV season that started last September.

 

Across its four Wednesday night plays, the launch cumed 2.5M viewers, to stand as the best total-viewer opening ever for an original on WGN in same day viewing. The drama, created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, outpaced premieres of the network’s Outsiders by 27% and Salem by 6%. Across those four plays, Underground delivered 983K adults 25-54, surpassing Outsiders by 21%.

 

Picked up for a full 10-episode first season in February 2015, the TV project from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios focuses on a group of slaves at a Georgia plantation who begin a 600 mile pre-Civil War trek to freedom via the Underground Railroad. It was the second highest trending topic on Twitter last night, behind only the Democratic debate on CNN and Univision, starring Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

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Idris Elba, Aldis Hodge Salute Black Men in Hollywood at Icon Mann Dinner

VARIETY – As Hollywood prepares to celebrate its biggest night in film, some of the industry’s biggest names in black entertainment — including Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Boris Kodjoe, Anthony Hemingway, Stephen Hill, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Evan Ross, Leon Bridges and Carl Weathers — packed Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel on Friday to kick off the fourth annual Icon Mann event.

 

Actors, journalists and Hollywood executives lined the 12th floor Starlight Ballroom — talking, laughing and exchanging handshakes as music played in the background.

 

The event, which culminates in an exclusive Power 50 dinner, celebrates black men in entertainment and provides a community that fosters support.

 

“It’s about creating the space for black men to have great fellowship of like-minded consciousness and to come together and talk about how they want to improve the world around them,” said Tamara Houston, founder and CEO of Icon Mann.

 

As a talent manager and producer, Houston said her first goal was to start with entertainers, because of the wealth of influence they carry.

 

“If we can get those men on a similar thought pattern of connectivity, we’re going to get more diversity in stories, we’re going to get more diversity in character, and what happens when you do that is you start to change a consciousness, and then we are part of the inclusion.”

 

Honoree Richard Roundtree, who rose to fame for his portrayal in “Shaft,” sparked Houston’s creation of Icon Mann after she heard him say at an Essence Festival that he had never been in a room filled with the fellowship of black people in the industry.

 

“Given what we’re going through politically and with the Academy Awards, this is an important evening for us to come together and celebrate each other,” Roundtree said. “We are as important as any other man walking, and to not be acknowledged for the successes that we have had is an injustice.”

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