Beyond the Lights

Romance film

Beyond the Lights is the story of Noni, a hot new award-winning artist who is primed for superstardom. But not all is what it seems, and the pressures cause Noni to nearly fall apart – until she meets , a promising young cop and aspiring politician who's been assigned to her detail. Drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz fall fast and hard, despite the protests of those around them to put their career ambitions ahead of their romance.

The filmmakers wanted to cast a real hip-hop artist in the role and Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), made a strong impression on the director. MGK auditioned four times before getting the call.

The filmmakers wanted to cast a real hip-hop artist in the role and Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), made a strong impression on the director. MGK auditioned four times before getting the call.

The contemporary stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, , Minnie Driver, hip-hop artist Colson “MGK” Baker and Danny Glover. Beyond the Lights is written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood uses music as creative inspiration. So it comes as little surprise that inspiration for her new film came while sitting at an Alicia Keys concert. “Alicia was singing her song ‘Diary' which is an epic love song, and suddenly this character and love story came into my head. It was one of those rare, great moments as a writer where a movie just starts flowing out.” Inspired by some of her favorite music films like Purple Rain, Lady Sings the Blues, and The Rose, Prince-Bythewood continued to develop the idea of love blossoming within the complicated world of hip hop and R&B.

Over the next four years, the story of Noni evolved with support from husband and producing partner Reggie Rock Bythewood. The director's ‘first eye,' Rock-Bythewood describes himself as “the first person she gets to argue with about her vision.” And her vision was simple: “I wanted to create a great love story.” Gina Prince-Bythewood credits her husband for helping her through the writing process. Instead of writing Noni's mother as African-American, he suggested she take a page from her own book; and make the character Caucasian, and Noni, biracial, like her and her own mother. “Why don't you touch on your own because things get stronger when you write from a personal place,” she recalls him saying. “Now I can't imagine the story any other way.

As she wrote, Gina Prince-Bythewood envisioned a real singer in the role of Noni. However her perspective changed when reality hit. “Nothing clicked” as she started auditioning people, singers primarily with a sprinkling of actors. After re-watching Walk the Line and Coal Miner's Daughter, her thinking evolved. “The role of Noni calls for singing but there's so much depth to the performance. I realized it was more important to have someone who had the chops to go there.” Auditions continued but none of the actors matched the image Prince-Bythewood had in mind, until Gugu Mbatha-Raw appeared. Nate Parker, who has been on the filmmakers' radar since appearing in The Secret Life of Bees, was interested in playing the socially-minded cop and aspiring politician. Parker found it easy to connect with his co-star.

Beyond the Lights was primarily shot on location in L.A. Kaz and Noni's idyllic escape to the beaches of Mexico was shot on location in Malibu. The filmmakers were also able to call on friends to make during their version of the BET Awards. “CEO of BET, Debra Lee agreed to do a cameo. We wanted cameos that would speak to the authenticity of the film so having her agree was fantastic.” R & B legend Chaka Khan and rapper Big Sean also appeared as themselves in the film

Share this article: Beyond the Lights

Facebook
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Twitter
Email

MORE TOPICS

The Best Man Holiday

In 1999, when The Best Man topped the box office on its opening weekend, audiences fell hard for a group of college friends named Harper, Lance, Mia, Shelby, Murch, Robyn, Jordan, Quentin and Candy. Writer/director/producer Malcolm D. Lee returns to write and direct this sequel to his directorial debut The Best Man Holiday

Iconic Fashion: The Signature Style of Hollywood’s Movie Stars

In the world of Hollywood, movie stars are not only known for their incredible acting skills but also for their impeccable sense of style. Over the years, certain actors and actresses have become synonymous with a particular fashion look that has solidified their status as fashion icons. From Audrey Hepburn’s timeless elegance to James Dean’s…

X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class is an American superhero film, directed by Matthew Vaughn, based on the characters appearing in Marvel Comics. The film is the fifth installment of the X-Men film series and a prequel to the first three movies.

Graceland

In this unpredictable and tightly-paced thriller, family man Marlon Villar — a longtime chauffeur to corrupt Filipino politician Manuel Chango — is faced with an unthinkable predicament when he is ambushed while driving both his boss’s and his own daughter home from school one afternoon.

The Unforgiving Wilderness: A Review of ‘The Revenant’ (2015)

‘The Revenant’ is a cinematic masterpiece that offers a riveting exploration of human resilience against a backdrop of wilderness and treachery. The performances, particularly by DiCaprio and Hardy, are magnetic, while Iñárritu’s direction and Lubezki’s cinematography are nothing short of breathtaking.

Trolls

From the creators of Shrek comes DreamWorks Animation’s TROLLS, a smart, funny and irreverent comedy about the search for happiness, and just how far some will go to get it. TROLLS features a stellar cast, including Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand