This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.
Outside Park City's Macro Lounge, people name-dropped everyone they could to try to get into the world premiere of the Halle Berry and Lena Waithe-produced "Boomerang" series at Sundance. It was moments before the show was set to begin, and the place was at capacity—so much so that event hosts feared a visit from the fire marshal if the list-checker let anyone else in.
Inside the lounge, folks happily made space for others to sit on the arms of chairs and couches, on the floor near the stage, or to stand near the closest TV. It really didn’t matter where you sat or stood once inside. What mattered most was being able to celebrate another win in Black television as a family.
With plenty of drinks to go ‘round, the crowd laughed and cheered along to the first two episodes of the "Boomerang" series.
“It’s a high. We haven’t seen, at all, the show with an audience,” showrunner Ben Cory Jones told me after the premiere and cast panel discussion at Macro.
“It’s awesome to see what they laugh at, and what they don’t laugh at, or what they find compelling,” Jones continued. “This is so great. So I’m very, very grateful.”
The "Boomerang" series, which premieres on BET on February 12, picks up 27 years after the classic 1992 romantic comedy which starred Eddie Murphy as Marcus Graham, a cocky advertising exec and bonafide playboy, and Halle Berry as Angela, his cute but mousy coworker in the art department.
In BET’s first episode, we meet their daughter Simone, who clearly inherited her father’s confidence. She’s looking to break free from her family’s name to create her own path in the creative world.
“She has her ups. She has her downs. She’s someone you can genuinely connect to and I definitely connect with her on a very deep level,” Tetona Jackson told me about her character, Simone. “She’s definitely taught me to stand my ground and hold my own.”
We also meet Bryson, the son of Murphy’s boss and sexual conquest, Jacqueline Boyer, in the 1992 film. An advertiser himself, Bryson wants to become a hotshot in the industry without the help of his mother’s fame. He’s in love with Simone, though, and lets her take control of the driver’s seat way too easily.
“We’re trying to talk about what it is like to have bosses at your job when you’re trying to go to the next level. We’re talking about the changing of the guard,” Jones said. “We’re talking about millennials trying to find love in this sort of age of social media that, one can argue, can make it harder or make it easier.”
An exciting new face to see in the "Boomerang" reboot is LaLa Milan, a hilarious Instagram star who is now crossing over into television with her debut role as a queer performance artist named Tia.
“I love the fact that Tia has a little bit of me in her because it was a great way for me to transition into acting,” Milan told me.
The transition into acting wasn’t easy for Milan, especially because she wanted lesbians to see themselves in her character.
“I wanted to make sure that when I represent for the lesbians of the world, that I do an amazing job,” Milan added. “I wanna take this role seriously. I want to make sure that I am doing them justice.”
With Waithe on board as an executive producer, the show had to embody a little Chicago swag. The opening music for the first episode is none other than “My Way” by Chicago’s next-up rapper Queen Key. It’s a perfect intro to a show illustrating the millennial desire to make moves and climb the professional ladder one's own way.
“I just want people to tune in and give us a shot,” Waithe told me at Macro. “Just be real. You [like] it? Boom. If not, that’s cool too.”
Header Photo Credit: Morgan Elise Johnson | The Triibe
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