I am big—It's the pictures that got small! Broadway vet Jenifer Lewis and Tony nominee Debbie Allen are joining forces for a Sunset Boulevard campy takeoff entitled Ventura Boulevard, according to IndieWire. Written by Mark Alton Brown and Dee LaDuke, Ventura Boulevard will be directed by Allen, executive produced by Lewis and feature a score by Tony winner Marc Shaiman. Ventura Boulevard will be a darkly comedic tribute to the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard, starring Lewis as a self-deluded queen of 1970’s blaxpoitation movies who uses her guile, money and sex to manipulate a young white scriptwriter into creating her comeback part.
“I am taking things into my own hands by producing Ventura Boulevard," said Lewis. "The Hollywood establishment isn’t going to finance a movie about a middle-aged African-American diva who deceives and beds a young white man.” She last appeared on Broadway in Hairspray as Motormouth Maybelle. Her other Broadway credits include include Comin' Uptown, Eubie! and Rock 'n' Roll: The First 5,000 Years. Notable film and TV credits include Jackie’s Back (written by Brown and LaDuke), Meet the Browns, The Princess and the Frog, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Sister Act.
Allen is best known for playing Lydia Grant on TV's Fame, a role which earner her three Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. She most recently directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway in 2008. As a Broadway performer, Allen has received two Tony nominations for Sweet Charity and West Side Story. Her other Broadway credits include Ain't Misbehavin', Raisin, Purlie and Truckload. She also choreographed the legendary flop musical version of Carrie.
Need some inspiration to get excited about this film? Check out this trailer for Lewis' cult mockumentary Jackie's Back from the same screenwriting team, about a 60's diva making a comeback. The brilliant comedy features a bevy of celebrities including Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Curry, Loretta Devine, David Hyde Pierce, Dolly Parton, Bette Midler, Liza Minnelli, Diahann Carroll, Rosie O'Donnell and more!