True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis attends the 2011 Skin Sense Awards Gala at The Plaza Hotel on October 11, 2011 in New York City.
True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis is to attend the opening night of “The Mountaintop,” Katori Hall’s Olivier-winning play examining the final hours of of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The play opens at Broadway’s Jacobs Theatre on October 13. Directed by Kenny Leon and starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, the limited engagement runs through January 15, 2012.
In addition to Nelsan, a slew of celebrities and politicians are expected among the first-night crowd including Alicia Keys, Spike Lee, Liev Schreiber, Gayle King, Magic Johnson, Gabourey Sidibe, Mayor Cory Booker, Anthony Mackie, Al Roker, Christina Ricci, Phylicia Rashad, Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, Congressman Charles Rangel, Courtney B. Vance, Star Jones, S. Epatha Merkerson, Rev. Al Sharpton, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Pauletta Washington, Debbie Allen, Ben Vereen, Joel Grey, Lily Rabe, Julian Bond, Nelsan Ellis, Tracy Reese, Harry Belafonte and more.
Taking place on April 3, 1968, The Mountaintop is a reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (Jackson). After delivering his legendary “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis while a storm rages outside. When a mysterious maid (Bassett) delivers room service, King is forced to confront his past, as well as his legacy to his people.
True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis is to be in Mira Nair’s controversial adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist‘ which started shooting this week on location in Atlanta, New York, Lahore, Delhi and Istanbul.
Interestingly, Mira has managed to get permission to shoot in Lahore where the novel is largely set.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a riveting thriller about Changez, a young Pakistani man chasing corporate success on Wall Street in the era of globalization. After September 11th , Changez experiences a seismic shift in his own attitude, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.
Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Black Gold) stars in the lead role of Changez alongside actors Kate Hudson (Bride Wars, Nine, Something Borrowed), Liev Schreiber (Salt, X-Men: Origins, The Manchurian Candidate), Kiefer Sutherland (24). Also appearing in the film are Nelsan Ellis, Martin Donovan, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Haluk Bilginer, and Meesha Shafi.
Adapted by Bill Wheeler, Mohsin Hamid, and Ami Boghani and produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, is the second major international production to receive financing from the Doha Film Institute (DFI).]
We’ve been posting photos for many of the True Blood cast as they have attended the various events at the New York City’s 2011 Fashion Week. Below are some new photos from the end of the week.
Carrie Preston poses for pictures backstage prior to the Elene Cassis Spring 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at The Studio at Lincoln Center on September 15, 2011 in New York City.
Janina Gavankar attends the Elie Tahari Spring 2012 fashion show and Us Weekly’s 25 Most Stylish New Yorkers Of 2011.
Nelsan Ellis visits the New Era Style Retreat on September 14, 2011
It’s always tough losing one of your good work buddies, but usually nobody makes you force them out at the end of a kitchen knife. Nelsan Ellis, who plays Lafayette on ‘True Blood,’ told the Inside True Blood Blog a bit about how Kevin Alejandro’s spectacular exit in the season finale has affected him – and his character.
“Lafayette is distraught,” Ellis says. “He wasn’t the one who killed Jesus, but it was by his hand. This is possibly Lafayette’s first real meaningful love, and he wasn’t strong enough to protect Jesus – even though Jesus has been able to protect him all season. It was a hard scene for me because I’ve been working with Kevin for two years and we’re best of friends. We’ve done some real intimate stuff … So it was hard really for me to stab him.”
Nelsan Ellis has been around a lot this weekend talking about True Blood’s Season finale,v“Season of the Witch”, and here’s another interview he gave to Access Hollywood about it. Despite the outrageous and drama-filled Bon Temps happenings of the last 11 episodes, the final script of 2011 shocked even the cast.
“I think we all read the finale and our jaws dropped,” Nelsan Ellis told Access Hollywood on Friday. “I was like, ‘What the hell?’(laughs). The audience is going to be so pissed off because they have to wait eight months before they see what happens next.”
Nelsan, who plays fan favorite, former V-dealer, Merlotte’s short order cook and new medium Lafayette Reynolds, said despite dozens of fantastical storylines throughout the show’s run, even he couldn’t quite believe how suspenseful Sunday’s episode ended up.
“As a person in the show, I literally went, ‘What’s gonna happen next?!’” he said. “Seriously, it’s the best finale so far.”
They’ve developed his [Lafayette] relationship with boyfriend Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) beyond the physical, gave Lafayette a power (he’s a medium), and a foe of sorts in the witch Marnie (Fiona Shaw), who when fans last saw her, slipped her spirit (Bill shot her in Episode 11) into Lafayette’s body.
“She’s gonna wreak havoc in that final episode,” Nelsan said of what’s coming up as his character struggles with the spirit of a vampire-hating witch, bent on revenge.
“I would say that the main [person] I’m gonna be knocking up against is Marnie, who possess me and I’m gonna be knocking up against Marnie because I’m trying to get out,” he added. “But, yeah, she’s gonna be at the center of all the drama.”
Marnie’s takeover is the third time Lafayette’s been possessed this season, his second by a female character.
So what did he think when he read about the latest twist?
“I was like, ‘Damn it! I’m gonna get possessed again.’ I don’t wanna act like no woman,” he laughed. “Let me get possessed by a dude.”
To read the rest of this interview where Nelsan talks about taking a master class with Fiona Shaw at Juilliard, go to: accesshollywood.com.
True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis had a role in the very popular and excellent movie, “The Help”. Nelsan tells New York Magazine who is going to get an Oscar for their performance and whether it will get a best picture nod. He also gives some hints about the True Blood season finale. I’m scared now.
You would expect Nelsan Ellis to be fully onboard with The Help — he’s got a small role in it, after all — but when we caught up with Ellis yesterday at the John Varvatos/Fashion’s Night Out event and asked whether he thought the film would get a Best Picture nomination, he predicted big things. “It will, and it’ll probably win,” he said. “Viola Davis is probably going to win the Oscar for that. How often do you see a performance where the actor is that dynamic, even without speaking? Her and Emma Stone are my favorite parts in The Help.” Ellis had plenty of compliments to pay Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer, too, but there’s another up-and-coming co-star he’s personally invested in. “Jessica Chastain! That girl is exciting. She’s marvelous. [After making The Help] I saw The Debt, and I was like, Jessica Chastain! She’s an excellent actress. I went to school with her, so I’m a little biased. She was a few years ahead of me at Julliard. She was amazing back then, too.”
As for his day job, Ellis claims that his current True Blood arc, where Lafayette finds himself possessed by the witch Marnie, wasn’t an easy thing to film. “Alan Ball told me I couldn’t try to talk like her, and I was like, ‘Really?’ So that was challenging. ‘Who do I act like?’ ‘Not her.’ I had to create something else … We’ll see what the fans say about it. The most exciting part of the episode isn’t me, though — it’s the cliffhangers.”
But True Blood always ends its seasons with big cliffhangers! “No,” said Ellis gravely. “This year, it’s on a different scale. When we all read the script, we were like, ‘What?!’ The cliffhangers take it to another level.” Are we getting something akin to the first season finale, where we thought that Lafayette had perished in the final minutes? “I can’t give it away, but something like that, except, I can’t say, but something really big on that level is going to happen.” He laughed. “You’ll see, and it’ll throw you for a loop, and then you all will have to wait for eight months!”
True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis, promises that the Season Finale will be one to remember — and not just in terms of momentous events for his character and his partner Jesus, played by Kevin Alejandro.
“The finale turns Bon Temps upside down,” the actor said, speaking recently by phone from New York, where he was shooting a feature film tentatively titled “Gods Behaving Badly.” “Lafayette and Jesus are directly in the middle of it, and it doesn’t end well. No finale in the history of ‘True Blood’ has been worse than this one in terms of the cliffhangers. People are going to be [upset] because they’re going to have to wait like seven months before they figure out what materializes after this finale.”
By the end of last week’s episode, “Soul of Fire,” Lafayette found himself possessed by the spirit of the recently dispatched witch Marnie (Fiona Shaw), who’s more than likely to use his body to her own evil ends as she seeks to eradicate vampires not just from Bon Temps but also from the world at large.
Lafayette’s newfound abilities to communicate with the dead — and occasionally host them in his body — has offered Ellis a number of exciting opportunities to play an even wider range of scenes than usual. But he said when he first learned about his new gift, he wasn’t initially that thrilled.
“Honestly, I was like, ‘Why can’t I get a cool gift?‘ ” he said. “When they told me I was a medium, I was like, OK, like Whoopi Goldberg in ‘Ghost’? That was my first impression. But for an actor it’s pretty good being a medium because you can portray other people. Alan Ball, he’s good at challenging his actors, I’ll say that.”
Ellis said he worked closely with actress Nondumiso Tembe, who played the wronged spirit of Mavis — the mother of the murdered child whom Lafayette and Jesus helped guide to a final peaceful rest — to determine specifically how she might inhabit Lafayette’s physical body and how Ellis could then show that on screen.
“I had to work with her to figure out what she was doing, and figure out how I was going to do what she was doing inside of me,” he said. “It was a long discussion, myself and Fiona, we sort of did the same thing, figuring out how that’s done. What we figured out is that there’s a third person that’s created. I didn’t have to mimic Nondumiso, Mavis, rather I had to find out how she was in my body because she’s coming into my mechanics, we had to figure out how that was.”
Apart from taking on new identities, working with Alejandro has been a particular highlight this season, Ellis said. “Last season, it was just us maneuvering around each other trying to make this relationship seem real to the rest of the world,” he said. “It wasn’t that much of a stretch. This season you see him doing things where I’m in the scene with him and I’m completely in awe and I’m in a master class of acting. He’s an inspiration to watch.”
Although the actors had immediate chemistry, Ellis said they took pains to build the rapport they now share, key to their making the relationship between their characters seem so authentic on screen.
Read the rest of this interview by going to: latimesblogs.latimes.com