Reported by Gospel Scene Producer, Renee'
Dateline: Saturday, September 24, 2005, The Rialto, Atlanta, GA.
"The Gospel" Movie Premiere
Boris Kodjoe stars as David Taylor in "The Gospel"
Detroit Gospel.com was in the house for the world premiere of the new movie, "The Gospel." "The Gospel" has a strong connection to Detroit's gospel music community with Fred Hammond as one of the executive producers and Delores "Mom" Winans as one of the stars.
The Premiere: Renee' with actor, Clifton Powell
Prior to the Atlanta premiere, there was a private screening in Detroit with Mom Winans and her son, Pastor Marvin Winans, acting as hosts for the evening. Many within the Detroit gospel community turned out and cheered whenever Mom Winans appeared on the screen. After the movie, the audience heaped praises on the film for its positive message, strong acting, powerful music written by Kirk Franklin, and thrilling performances by Yolanda Adams, Martha Munizzi, and Fred Hammond. Other gospel artists appearing in the film include Hezekiah Walker and Donnie McClurkin. Surprisingly, Donnie McClurkin does not sing in this film, but instead delivers a strong performance as a church deacon.
The Premiere: Renee' with actor, Omar Gooding
The Atlanta premiere provided an even more star-studded evening as actors and gospel artists featured in the film came out to support the project. In the mix with Detroit Gospel.com's own Renee' and Karen Hunt Barker were Director Rob Hardy along with his Rainforest Films partners, Will Packer and Bernard Bronner, Boris Kodjoe and his wife, Nicole Ari Parker and their daughter, Sophie Tei-Naaki Lee Kodjoe, Nona Gaye, Tamyra Gray, Clifton Powell, Omar Gooding, Aloma Wright, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Martha Munizzi, Sean Nelson, Dwayne Boyd, Elise Neal, Chris Spencer, Cece Winans and her husband Alvin Love, Kelly Price, Main Ingredients singer Cuba Gooding with wife Shirley, Darryl "Chill" Mitchell, Monica, Pebbles and Former NBA Player Terry Cummings.
Renee' with actress, Keisha Knight Pulliam
The Gospel appeals to not only the African-American Christian market, but to a market that is craving more family-friendly movies. The redemptive storyline is a universal one that provides hope and inspiration, something that is often lacking in today's hard core rap-saturated culture.
Renee' with Hezekiah Walker & Walker's daughter
Interviews with cast members prior to the premiere revealed a commitment level and a passion to provide quality entertainment to an audience that is voting with their wallets for spiritually-infused movies such as Woman Thou Art Loosed and Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
Tamyra Gray during pre-premiere interviews
Former American Idol contestant, Tamyra Gray, is the film's female lead, Rain Walker. Detroit Gospel.com sat down to talk with Tamyra about her role and what it meant to her personally:
Q: How did you get the role of Rain Walker?
Tamyra: I was on vacation. Literally, when I got off the plane, my agent comes up to me and says, ‘there is a script and we need you to be in it.’ ‘There is a part and they need an answer by tomorrow, and they want you to be in it.’ Automatically, like no audition that I had ever been in. I read it and I just loved the content of it and I signed on immediately. The funny thing about it, it seems like I was meant to be in it. Everything about this movie, from it being filmed in my hometown, to it actually using the church I went to. Victory was my home church, when I lived here in Atlanta. Victory is the church that becomes the new face of New Revelation. They used my choir, everything! It seemed like this was meant to be…it seemed like a good fit.
Q: So what was it like to work with gospel music?
Tamyra: It was really cool. Working with Hezekiah Walker and Donnie McClurkin was great. Hezekiah was like, ‘I’m not really into acting.’ He said, ‘I’m just going to stick to singing.’ But it was nice. In my first movie there was no attitude, for everyone to be there to be of help. Maybe because it is The Gospel, a church-based film. When you have that kind of film and you have that kind of environment, you’re not cussing, there is no sex, there’s no nothing. It's just a feel good kind of movie, where you can just be comfortable.
Renee' with Tamyra Gray at the Premiere
Renee': My question, I’ve probably asked everybody – Do you have a favorite gospel artist? If so, who is it?Tamyra: Yolanda Adams. I didn’t get a chance to meet her. My rap date was the day before she came in. I didn’t get to meet her. Her voice is absolutely wonderful. I absolutely adore her. Her voice is magnificent, it’s heavenly, it’s unbelievable.
Actor Omar Gooding stars as Wesley, David Taylor's manager and friend. Omar is the younger brother of Academy Award winning actor, Cuba Gooding, and the son of Main Ingredients singer, Cuba Gooding (Sr.) The following is an excerpt from Renee's interview with Omar:
Q: What made you want to be a part of this project?
Omar: The script, every piece of it. When I read it from top to bottom I said, ‘yes, I have to be a part of this in some kinda way.’ There was a situation when I first read for it, they didn’t know which role they wanted me for. Then I had to go out of town to shoot a movie in Thailand, so right before I left I asked, ‘What is going on with The Gospel?’ ‘They don’t know what they are going to do’ ‘Low budget.’ The agents were on me about it like, ‘We don’t want you singing, yada, yada.’ I said, ‘I want to be apart of this. I don’t care what is going on, even if it’s just a cameo.’ You know, they said, ‘hey guess what – they offered you a cameo.’ I said, ‘okay, well I do it as soon as I get back.’ ‘Well, they say it is filmed in October, so you can’t do it.’ I said, ‘Oh man. You know I really want to be a part.’ As soon as I got back, I heard they pushed it to February and [they] said, (1) you can do it and (2) they offered you a big role, blah-blah-blah.’ I said, ‘that’s great.’ So the funny thing was, when I first read the script, Wesley, this was the role I said I could play that role, with cornrolls …, I can do this. Acting as a record producer, I could make music. I dabble here and there, and I can make a positive singer. I know all about the music business, Both sides are shady, so I said that would be great. So granted, when I sat down and read it from page to page I said, ‘fantastic, God is good, let’s do it.
Q: Do you have a favorite gospel artist? If so, who is it?
Omar: Fred Hammond. I grew up listening [to Fred] in Michigan. "Running Back To You," is my favorite song in the world. The ending scene [of the movie], climaxing scene, where everybody gets up and is singing and Fred Hammond gets up. They call him up on stage. I said, 'would you please sing, “Running Back To You?”' I was like a groupie. I put on my camera phone. I said, 'Yes, sing it , yeah.' That was a treat for me. I called mom that night [and] I told her. You won’t believe who is singing right now. Sound like heaven. Yes, Yes. Fred Hammond most definitely, that was a treat.
Actor, Boris Kodjoe and wife
The Premiere: Renee' with gospel artist, Martha Munizzi and her family
The Premiere: Renee' with actor, Eriq La Salle
The Premiere: Renee' with CeCe Winans
The Premiere: Renee' with gospel artists "Mary Mary"
The Premiere: Renee' with gospel artist, Kierra "Kiki" Sheard
Renee's exclusive interviews and photos with stars of "The Gospel"
The Gospel opens nationwide on Friday, October 7, 2005
Movie Synopsis Taken from www.thegospel-movie.com:
"A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church when tragedy strikes. He returns years later to find the once powerful congregation in disarray. With his childhood nemesis creating a "new vision" for the church, he is forced to deal with family turmoil, career suicide, and relationship issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction."