By Bill Vaughan
Jodie Turner-Smith, the striking actress who starred in movies “Queen & Slim” and “Without Remorse” with Michael B. Jordan, gives a mesmerizing performance as one of England’s notorious queens in “Anne Boleyn,” a new three-part psychological thriller making its U.S. debut Dec. 9 on AMC+.
The groundbreaking drama, marking the first time the historical figure has been played by a Black actor, explores the final months of Boleyn’s life from her perspective, as she struggles to secure a future for her daughter and to challenge the powerful patriarchy closing in around her.
“I definitely anticipated that there were going to be people that felt a certain way about it,” said Turner-Smith at this year’s Cannes Film Festival as reported by Variety. “I think we’ve seen for years and years that in theater we have characters being played by people of all different ethnicities, but I think definitely in a medium like television or film it’s something we see much less.
“But I thought it was so interesting that the producers wanted to do something where they did this sort of identity-conscious casting instead of casting somebody based on what color their skin is. I think it is the function of art to tell stories in a way that pushes people to see things differently,” she added.
“I think as a Black artist in this moment in time, I definitely want to be part of showing people a world that looks different than what they have historically been allowed to see.”
The “can’t-miss television event” with remaining episodes being released on consecutive Thursdays, features a superb ensemble cast including Emmy and BAFTA Award nominated actor Paapa Essiedu (“I May Destroy You,” “Gangs of London”) as Anne’s brother and Tudor nobleman George Boleyn. Mark Stanley (“Game of Thrones”) is Boleyn’s husband King Henry VIII, and Lola Petticrew (“Bloodlands”) is Anne’s love rival, Jane Seymour.
TICKET WATCH: Adele, on the heels of her latest album “30” becoming the year’s best seller in the U.S., has announced she’ll be in residency at Caesars Palace Colosseum in Las Vegas beginning Jan. 21 and every Friday and Saturday until April 16, with a break the weekend of Feb. 18-19. Visit Ticketmaster.com on Dec. 7 at 11 a.m. for your shot at seats.
RED CARPET WALK: Stephen Spielberg’s “West Side Story” has a Hollywood premiere on Dec. 7 at the El Capitan Theatre. Stars including Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez and the 1961 version’s Rita Moreno are expected to arrive between 5 and 6:30 p.m.
CLIPPETTES: Now considered too old to become the next James Bond, The Sun reports that Idris Elba is in negotiations to portray the villain in the franchise’s next offering in advance of naming the successor to former lead Daniel Craig. The frontrunners appear to be Henry Cavill (“Superman”), Tom Hardy (“Venom”), Henry Golding (“Snake Eyes”), Richard Madden (“Eternals”) and breakout “Bridgerton” star Rege Jean-Page …
102.7 KIIS FM Jingle Ball returns to the Forum on Dec. 3 with Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Black Eyed Peas, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, The Kid LAROI and more …
After going viral by tweeting about Chance the Rapper, Dionne Warwick has teamed with him to record a single for their charities: SocialWorks and Hunger: Not Impossible, respectively. The song is titled “Nothing’s Impossible” …
Trevor Noah’s Back To Abnormal Tour arrives at the Forum Dec. 4; as Dawn Richard (Danity Kane, Dirty Money) performs with Bonavega at the Lodge Room …
Director Rebecca Hall screens her debut film “Passing” (starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga) at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre on Dec. 5 followed by a Q&A. RSVP at www.americancinematheque.com …
Also that evening, the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever presents Merry Christmas From Jose James featuring the jazz vocalist performing from his new holiday album including a joyful rendition of John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” …
A conversation with Rick Ross is presented Dec. 8 by the Grammy Museum and Culture Impact Agency. Billboard Hip-Hop Editor Carl Lamarre will chat with the chart topper, author and entrepreneur …
Legendary jazz keyboardist and composer Bob James is once again finding his music used in a rap song. Ghostface Killah has just released “Bob James Freestyle” (featuring his fellow Wu-Tang Clan friend Raekwon). James’ catalog has been sampled in the past by LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Eric B. & Rakim, Warren G and Nate Dogg and Missy Elliott, to name a few …
Bestselling author, poet and activist Amanda Gorman will discuss her latest book of poetry, “Call Us What We Carry,” with decorated poet and scholar Elizabeth Alexander Dec. 9. Skirball.org has info on the livestream entry and copies.
TC ON TV: Dec. 3 – “Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues” (Apple TV+): Guests Khalid and Kirk Franklin join Mariah Carey for her latest holiday special. “Harlem” (Prime Video): Created, written and executive produced by Tracy Oliver (“Girl’s Trip”), the comedy series follows four stylish and ambitious best girlfriends in New York City; with a cast featuring Meagan Good, Grace Byers, Jasmine Guy, Robert Ri’chard, Tyler Lepley and Whoopi Goldberg. “A Christmas Dance Reunion” (Lifetime): “High School Musical” alums Monique Coleman and Corbin Bleu star in this holiday movie with Kim Roberts. “You’re Watching Video Music Box” (SHO): The untold story of the world’s longest running video show. Since 1983, “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels‘ program has given shine to artists like Jay-Z, Nas and Mary J. Blige before they hit it big.
Dec. 4 – “Kirk Franklin’s A Gospel Christmas” (Lifetime): Demetria McKinney portrays a young pastor in this movie featuring a special appearance and songs written and arranged by Franklin. “Our Christmas Journey” (HMC): Holly Robinson Peete is a single mom who comes to a crossroads with her autistic son.
Dec. 5 – “The Christmas Thief” (ION): Vivica A. Fox co-stars as a detective investigating a string of local burglaries where the main suspect is Santa Claus. “The National Christmas Tree Lighting” (CBS): LL Cool J hosts with performances by Billy Porter, H.E.R., Patti LaBelle, Juanes, Keb’ Mo’ and the Howard Gospel Choir. “A Home For The Holidays At The Grove” (CBS): Kane Brown, Alessia Cara and Justin Bieber sing to raise awareness of adoption from foster care. “Mr. A & Mr. M: The Story of A&M Records” (EPIX): A two-part documentary about the record label started by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss that catapulted the careers of the Police, Quincy Jones, Joe Cocker, Carole King and more.
Dec. 6 – “A Very Boy Band Holiday” (ABC): Members from New Edition, Boyz II Men, *NSYNC, NKOTB, 98 Degrees and O-Town gather for a nostalgic night of merry hits. “Hip Hop Family Christmas” (VH1): Jamie Foxx is executive producer of this movie with Keri Hilson, MC Lyte, Ne-Yo, Redman, Tank, Terrence J, Vanessa Simmons and more.
Dec. 7 – “Live In Front Of A Studio Audience” (ABC): This time reenacting “The Facts of Life” and “Diff’rent Strokes” (with Kevin Hart and Damon Wayans as Arnold and Willis). Immediately following is a sneak preview of Quinta Brunson’s sitcom “Abbott Elementary” with Sheryl Lee Ralph. “The Slow Hustle” (HBO): Director Sonja Sohn (“The Wire”) chronicles the still unsolved death of Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter, fatally shot in 2017 while in the line of duty. “People’s Choice Awards” (NBC/E!): Dwayne Johnson and Halle Berry are honorees for the event hosted by Kenan Thompson. “A Sisterly Christmas” (OWN): Former Essence editor Angela Burt-Murray is co-writer of this holiday movie starring Deborah Joy Winans (“Greenleaf”). “Queens” (ABC): Wyclef Jean and Jadakiss guest star.
Dec. 8 – “Welcome To Earth” (Disney+): Explore the planet’s greatest wonders with Will Smith in this six-part limited series. “Don’t Cancel Me with Amara La Negra” (Fuse): “Race and Colorism”
Dec. 9 – “And Just Like That” (HBO Max): A new chapter of the groundbreaking HBO series “Sex and the City,” with Nicole Ari Parker, Sara Ramirez and Sarita Choudhury joining the original cast members for diversity’s sake.
END QUOTE: “The teachable lesson here is disrupt. Provoke. Be controversial. Push buttons. Be a conversation piece … live as a true artist. No matter what your thoughts were — about his work/life, weather you slept in line for off white … or you snarked comments — the true sign of an artist is all these things. Virgil Abloh was art.” – QUESTLOVE on the groundbreaking Louis Vuitton designer who died last week from cancer at 41
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.