Lady In My Life is the feature I’ve spent the first quarter of the year writing. Named after one of my favorite Michael Jackson songs, LIML tells the story of a young man (Jamal Ali), as seen through the eyes of of his mother (Tanya Washington), his wife (Gloria Ceballos), and his daughter (Aaliyah Ali). A ‘family’ film in every sense of the word, it takes place in three different locations (rural Louisiana in the 70s, Kansas City in the 80s and 90s, and Los Angeles at the turn of the century), and covers two major religions (Christianity and Islam). It is both the most epic and the most personal story I’ve written at this point in my evolution as an artist. While it wasn’t a conscious choice, it’s also the first story I’ve written without cursing, and the sexual references are mostly implied (the most undeniable proof I’m getting old…fast).
I definitely wrote this with certain actresses (and a few actors) in mind for the major roles. The businessman in me won’t reveal that info yet; honestly that’s way down the line from a business point of view. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. What I will say is this: I can remember vividly when a ‘black film’ was defined as having either Spike Lee or Eddie Murphy. That was it. It’s still not where I feel it should be personally, but there has been progress. And as long as there are those with ambition and talent banging against wherever the ‘ceiling’ lies, progress will continue to be made.
If writing the feature represents the first step, the second step is the Prologue. For those of you like me who are fanatics of The Wire, you’ll probably remember before Season 5 started, three short films were released. Each was a Prologue, or origin story for one of the major characters of the Wire (Prop Joe, Omar, McNulty and Bunk). In a similar vein, the Prologue for LIML takes place years before the ‘story’ of the feature film begins. It revolves around the first (dating) anniversary of two of the main characters, Jamal and Gloria. Their five year old daughter Aaliyah is one of the central characters of the feature: you do the math. The Prologue is obviously related to the feature, but it’s truly a separate project. I’ll definitely be providing updates as that piece of the puzzle progresses; if there’s a demand for it, I’ll write a separate post talking more specifically about my goals for that particular project.
So that’s a preview/review of my 09 plans. More as the gears start turning…