Before Citizen Kane and The War of the Worlds, leading Broadway actress Rose McClendon and producer John Houseman convince a gifted but untested 20-year-old Orson Welles to direct Shakespeare’s Macbeth with an all-Black cast in Harlem. Reimagined in a Haitian setting, this revolutionary 1936 production, which came to be known as “Voodoo Macbeth,” would change the world forever, but the road to opening night proves to be a difficult one. Orson and Rose – who is to play Lady Macbeth – clash over everything from scene blocking to crew hires, while Houseman contends with a congressman hell-bent on shutting down what he deems “communist propaganda.” Welles and McClendon must overcome political pressure, personal demons, and protests to realize their groundbreaking vision. Fresh of an award-winning film festival run Voodoo MacBeth is being released for a theatrical run through Lightyear Entertainment. Co-producer Jason Phillips, lead actors Inger Tudor and Jewell Wilson Bridges join us to talk about the story behind the story making a film in which ten directors, six producers and eight writers seamlessly collaborated, how the USC School of Cinematic Arts and USC Originals factor into the making of the film, re-discovering this little known chapter in the life of a filmmaking giant Orson Wells, and the importance of publicly support funding for the arts, including the Federal Theatre Project and its support for Harlem’s Negro Theatre Unit.
About the filmmaker – Inger Tudor studied classical theatre at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. A graduate of Harvard, she gave up law to pursue her passion. Her favorite credits include: Theatre – Steel Magnolias (LA Theatre Works), Silent Sky (Arizona Theatre Company), The Exorcist (Geffen Playhouse), Stuff Happens (Mark Taper Forum), Bailey’s Café (HartfordStage), Antigone (A Noise Within), Going to St. Ives (Actors Co-op), Romeo and Juliet (Boston Court), The Suppliant Women, Honky, (Rogue Machine); Television – The Trial of Tim Heidecker, Goliath, Leverage, House, The Young & The Restless; Film – On Time, Elizabeth Blue, The Lost One, Stairways, The Social Network.
About the filmmaker – Jewell Wilson Bridges is a fresh face in LA pursuing television and film roles, after working as a dramatic and musical theater actor in New York. He won Best Actor in the IndieX Film Fest for his short OUTSIDE THE ANGEL CITY. Recent theater credits include: Geoffrey in LION IN WINTER (St. Louis Rep), Perchik in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Pioneer Theater), and historical figure Carlo Gesualdo in DEATH FOR FIVE VOICES (Prospect Theater Co). He is a proud Kentucky native and graduate of Baldwin Wallace University.
Jason Phillips – A triplet from San Diego, Jason holds a BFA in Film Production from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he received the prestigious Malcolm and Berman Family Fund Scholarship. Since graduation, Jason has worked on projects for Lionsgate, Amazon, Sephora, and Disney Digital Network. His films ha e screened and won awards at numerous festivals including Cleveland International Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival, SCAD Savannah Film Festival, NFFTY, and American Pavilion Emerging Filmmakers Showcase at Cannes Film Festival. website
“The first-ever theatrical release from USC School of the Cinematic Arts enlists multiple directors to dramatize the ‘Citizen Kane’ director’s Shakespearean collaboration with the Negro Theatre Unit.” – Joe Leydon, Variety
“It’s attractively filmed and, mostly, solidly performed, taking some historical liberties but otherwise getting the gist of the tale out in the open for new generations to discover and appreciate” – William Bibbiani, TheWrap