It’s been a long time since there’s been a truly great Christmas musical on the big screen, and Black Nativity is hoping to change that this holiday season.
Director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) discusses the tale of reconnection, opening Nov. 27, in an exclusive First Look featurette. Nativity centers on a Baltimore teen named Langston (breakout Jacob Latimore, whose name pays homage to the film’s source material: a 1961 stage musical by poet Langston Hughes), who is sent by his down-on-her-luck mother mother (Jennifer Hudson) to spend the holidays in Harlem with her estranged parents — her Reverend father (Oscar winner Forest Whitaker) and his church choir-leading wife (Oscar nominee Angela Bassett).
Despite having her own Oscar on her mantle, Hudson admits to being blown away by the star-studded cast, which also includes R&B powerhouses Mary J. Blige, Tyrese, and Luke James: “Some of my favorite artists are here,” says the triple threat. “It makes such a fun project and a fun cast.” For his part Tyrese, was drawn to Black Nativity because “this is a film that everybody in the family can go and see together. What makes this movie powerful is that you can relate and identify with somebody in this movie.”
Below, Whitaker talks overcoming nerves before stepping into the recording studio, Blige sings Latimore’s praises, Hudson talks working with Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq (who composed new gospel and R&B music for the film), and more cast members give insight to the production.
Black Nativity opens Nov. 27.