Viola Davis lands role in film here
Actress Viola Davis, who won a Tony Award for playing a Hill District wife and mother in August Wilson's "Fences," is coming to Pittsburgh for real to star in the movie "Still I Rise."
She will play a middle-class teacher and mother of one child in a story about two strong women who channel their frustration into action and join forces to transform an inner-city school.
Ms. Davis also was a 2008 Oscar nominee for her supporting role in "Doubt" opposite Meryl Streep. She was unforgettable as a mother trying to keep her son -- hated by his own father, picked on by his classmates and the possible target of abuse by a priest -- safe in 1964.
She portrayed a compassionate psychiatrist in "It's Kind of a Funny Story," a CIA heavy in "Knight and Day," a literary agent and best friend to Elizabeth Gilbert in "Eat Pray Love," and a maid during the Eisenhower years in Connecticut in "Far From Heaven."
In June 2010, Ms. Davis and Denzel Washington won Tony Awards for "Fences," which also captured the honor for best revival of a play. Mr. Wilson's most popular play explores the life of a Negro League ballplayer in Pittsburgh's Hill District of 1957 and the promising future of his son.
Daniel Barnz ("Beastly") will direct the original story, which is not related to the Maya Angelou work. Negotiations for the other female lead, along with supporting performers and a school, are under way.
Walden Media executive Mylan Stepanovich said this week that filming likely will start May 23 and wrap in mid-July. "Still I Rise" should be finished with principal photography by the time "The Dark Knight Rises" and, if it makes the Fox schedule, "Locke & Key," start.
Talking about Ms. Davis, he said, "She's fantastic. We're very lucky" to land her as a character likely to be called Nona opposite one named Jamie.
"We're still working on our Jamie. ... We're hoping to have somebody by the end of the week."
As production nears, Fourth River Casting has put out a call for children who can play ages 8 to 12 for "Still I Rise."
Some extras will be needed for a single day while others will appear in classroom scenes featuring the main characters.
Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: Name, telephone number, mailing address, hair/eye color, height and weight, age range, availability from mid-May to July, and description of previous extra experience.
When submitting information for children, also include parent's name/child's name, child's actual age and child's school. If you are an adult, put "Still I Rise" in the email subject line. If you are submitting for a child, put "Still I Rise -- Children" in the subject line.
All applicants should submit a photo that shows face and body. Resumes can be attached, as well. No phone calls are being accepted, and potential extras will be contacted by phone or email. Remember, use the email address above (not the one at the end of this article).