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USA: Universal Studios
UK: UIP (UK)
Cast: Andre Benjamin, Antwan A Patton, Paula Patton, Terrence Howard, Faizon Love, Malinda Williams, Cicely Tyson, Macy Gray, Ben Vereen, Paula Jai Parker, Bobb'e J. Thompson, Patti LaBelle, Ving Rhames, Jackie Long, Oscar Dillon, Jalil Jay Lynch, Esau Ali Caldwell, Bruce Bruce, Bre'wan Waddell, Carole Mitchell Leon, China Anderson, Isis Faust, Kyra K Freeman, Karina Truesdale, Rodney Johnson, Bentley Farnsworth, Bryan Barber, Cynthia Covington Blash, Cali Casino, Kevin Rowe, Lillian Jones, Lakesha Lee, Charlie Lucas, Angelo Christopher Moore, Bill Nunn, Afemo Omilami, Liwaza Green, Karen Dyer, Annalisia Simone, Jennifer Johnson, Autavia Bailey, Jessica Castro, Kenna Morris, Stephanie Moseley, Debra Killing, Quinn Bass, Torya Beard, Jennifer Edmonds, Ryan Francois, Edgar Godineaux, Terrance Harrison, Micha James, Erika T Johnson, Janice Lorraine, Chanel Malvar, Marielys Molina, Adesola A Osakalumi, Henry Platt, Danielle Polanco, Ivan 'Flipz' Velez, Nadine Ellis, Elton Laron, Tracie Burton, Ayesha Orange, Josette Wiggan, Jason Samuels Smith, Victoria Parsons, Dannon Bryant, Patrick 'Sleepy' Brown, John Norwood Fisher, Kevin Kendrick, John Dexter Steward Jr
Director: Bryan Barber
USA & UK: 121 mins
USA Rated: R for violence, sexuality, nudity and language
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and violence and moderate sex
USA Release Date: 25 August 2006
UK Release Date: 13 October 2006 (Limited Release)
ANDRe BENJAMIN and ANTWAN A PATTON, better known to their legions of fans as Andre 3000 and Big Boi of OutKast, were not looking for a vanity project to help them become the latest crop of singers-turned-actors. The groundbreaking group, known for its unconventional stylings and mixed-genre performances, has been long interested in working with their frequent-music video-director, writer/director Bryan Barber, on a film that shared intriguing stories of classic Southern characters from the 1930s African-American viewpoint. In IDLEWILD, an original musical, Andre Benjamin is the shy piano player, Percival, and Antwan A Patton as Rooster, the showy headliner and manager at a free-for-all speakeasy called "Church."
In the 1930s American South, there was one spot that served as a haven—a place of prayer for the weary, joy for the hopeful and music for the masses. All were welcome to come and find the Lord as they walked into church on Sunday mornings. When the good and righteous built these houses of worship, however, they did ask guests to leave a few things at the door, namely: cussing, liquor, fast women, gambling and guns. And that was the part of the sermon to which Rooster just didn't pay attention. In his nightclub called "Church," there was only one story to tell...one in the key of cool.
Welcome to Idlewild, Georgia. Welcome to Church.
In Idlewild, players gather nightly at Church, with childhood friends—who grew up on opposite sides of the tracks—Rooster and Percival playing two key roles at the club. Soft-spoken and reserved mortician Percival sees playing piano at the nightclub as welcome respite from the doldrums of working in his overbearing father's (Tony Award winner Ben Vereen, ROOTS, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE, BROADWAY'S WICKED) funeral home. One night in Church, Percival meets the latest celebrity to tour the South, the ethereal Angel (newcomer Paula Patton). Percival falls head over heels in love with the ingenue and is faced with a choice: stay or leave his oppressive father behind and pursue his dreams of becoming a song-and-dance man in the big cities of which he's only dreamed.
Church's manager, Rooster, is the son of a moonshine runner, a man who has grown into his flashy clothes and role as a wheeler-dealer—juggling both his suspicious wife, Zora (Malinda Williams, TV's SOUL FOOD), and a cast of characters who make their money off the place's illegal dealings. From the club's blustering owner, "Sunshine" Ace (Faizon Love, ELF, FRIDAY), to the swop dancers, showgirls, musicians, fire-eaters and divas who light up the stage—including hard-drinking, sultry singer Taffy (Grammy-winning singer and actor Macy Gray, TRAINING DAY, DOMINO)—Rooster makes sure the show goes on nightly and Church's customers get just the entertainment they came to find.
But Rooster's problems multiply after he witnesses a shooting that places Trumpy (Academy Award®-nominated actor Terrence Howard, HUSTLE & FLOW, LACKAWANNA BLUES, CRASH)—one of the mob men—into control of the influx of liquor into his juke joint. While on the run from the mob, the good-hearted scoundrel realizes his life of petty crime is taking him nowhere and must now fight his way back to his family while his best friend Percy tries to escape the hold Idlewild has on him...and start a new life performing in a faraway city.
Set to OutKast's show-stopping musical numbers, Percival and Rooster's parallel journey of discovery takes them deep into the sultry South and across Idlewild as they grow from precocious children to stand-up men. From the back roads of Georgia to the bright lights of Chicago blasting in the Prohibition heat, the friends will learn the truths of deepest love, heartbreaking loss and family ties that bind them forever to a place called Idlewild.
IDLEWILD includes an all-star roster of some of the most notable performers in music, film and theater today and introduces movie lovers to America's top dancers in never-before-seen sequences—choreographed by three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle (DREAMGIRLS). True to form, OutKast writes and performs songs in their musical numbers. Most of the music—including the score—is a mixture of contemporary hip-hop, classic blues and swing music, with music from legends such as Cab Calloway and Bessie Smith. Classic songs were scratched and mixed to give the Idlewild soundtrack a modern feel. Contemporary performers such as Arturo Saldoval lend their talents to the soundtrack and musical numbers.