Saturday, July 20, 2024

Exclusive: Viola Davis On Break from “Murder” Will Play Judge in James Lapine Film


How to get away with making a movie during hiatus: much awarded actress (two Tonys, one SAG Award) Viola Davis is jumping back into movies before she returns to Shonda Rhimes’s hit show. She’s going to star in “Custody,” directed by James Lapine, the famed author of “Into the Woods.”

Lapine has not directed a feature film since the clever Michael J. Fox film “Life with Mikey” back in 1993. But he’s been steady winner and nominee at the Tony Awards over the last 30 years. He also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for writing “Sunday in the Park with George” for Stephen Sondheim.

Davis is enmeshed in nefarious activities on “Murder,” but she’s going to get a change of pace in “Custody.” She plays Judge Martha Sherman, who presides over the custody case of a young woman (Catalina Sandino Moreno, Oscar nominee for “Maria Full of Grace”) trying to keep her children. Casting has begun to put together the large cast, including the judge’s husband.

Lauren Versel and Katie Mustard are producing with Davis’s production company, Juvee, run by the star’s astute husband Julius Tennon. Juvee has a lot of other projects coming, including one for Davis to play beloved Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan.

I’m for anything with Viola Davis. She’s in the Top Five of all actresses anywhere.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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