Movieline Casts the Soul Train Movie
Thank you, 2009, for staying heroic and proving that a studio can adapt any plot-lacking TV show or toy into a feature-length movie (hell, I'm about to adapt this Blackberry into a three-act musical). Today, Variety announced another such project we can get behind: a feature film adaptation of Soul Train, the long-running music program featuring live acts, a grooving in-studio audience, and the indispensable closing dance-off "the Soul Train line." The film version will eschew Soul Train's '70s beginnings (rather curiously) and focus on a 'hood-based protagonist's "body-popping" talent that will vault him to recognition. That's all well and good, but this is a movie that hinges on great casting; It could mean the difference between a Dreamgirls and a The Fighting Temptations. Let's see who gets a callback.
Kadeem Hardison as Don Cornelius
Inevitably Jamie Foxx will field the call, but we don't have to accept that slap. The main players of A Different World have withered into obscurity, and it's time to parade our chagrin. Soul Train host Don Cornelius' je ne sais quoi comprised equal parts wooden posture and dulcet coo, and Jamie Foxx would regrettably play up the latter. Kadeem Hardison, meanwhile, would nail Don's understated emcee skills, as roles in 2003's Who's Your Daddy and the 2007 Bratz film have laced his old-school charm with somberness. That's the winning mix we deserve.
Rosie Perez as Disapproving Parent (Who Eventually Gets It)
No hard-knock pop-and-locker is complete without a bespectacled mama, and Rosie Perez fits the bill as the matriarch who just doesn't understand kids, their loud stereo machines, or television after Flip Wilson. Just imagine the game-changing moment late in the film when Rosie thumbs through old photos to reveal a beaming still of herself with Otis Williams. At 17 seconds, it is the Oscar-reel optimum length.
Jasmine Guy as Vanity
Not kidding about the A Different World comeback. Our hip-hopper will have to run into several '80s Soul Train guests, and if smirk-flinging studio heads understand anything about cinema, they will cast Jasmine Guy as the age-defying (Seriously, was she 22 or 72? Electrified hair is the ultimate age concealer) Vanity, nee Denise Matthews. Vanity can impart cryptic tips for success, ones dictated to her in monotone by her Purple mentor, and hint at eternal salvation in the arms of Christ, because that's Vanity's thing now. It's not fair to pretend she's still supports the exaltation of semen stains, guys.
The mostly reunited B2K as Whodini
In their heyday, the boys of B2K performed as the Temptations on an episode of NBC's American Dreams, the same program that allowed Jennifer Love Hewitt to play Nancy Sinatra. Mind you, B2K is a spunk factory -- not in the Vanity way -- and their swaggering prowess would translate easily to the '80s trio Whodini. Contracts will be rough to hash out -- Omarion's selfish demand to be Jalil Hutchins will chafe the rumps of the big-wigs when it's clearly a Lil Fizz role -- but that's show business. Whichever fourth B2K member is ousted (I vote Raz-B) can turn up as Cornelius's scheming half-brother.
Jamie Foxx as the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
I couldn't leave Jamie out when the grandest moment in post-'70s Soul Train is its appearance on the Will Smith sitcom. Foxx is practicing his sea otter noises already. As a bonus, I believe Jasmine Guy should also play Aunt Viv, in a modern-day Cat Ballou Lee Marvin situation.
'Soul Train' Coming to the Bigscreen [Variety]