I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been blogging as much recently. It's because I've been busy helping legendary soap queen Victoria Rowell bring characters from her popular novels Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva and The Young and the Ruthless to life in an upcoming made-for-TV movie!
Rowell, who shot to fame on CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless and the primetime hit Diagnosis Murder, is directing and executive producing the project via Days Ferry Productions, LLC . John Michael Reefer and Chris Askew (Saints & Sinners, Born Again Virgin) are producers. Colbert Bernard (The Miki Howard Story) is serving as a co-producer. Talent manager Vanzil Burke is associate producer.
Rowell hired me to co-write the script for The Rich and the Ruthless (loosely based on her novels) with her earlier this year. The actress and author has worked tirelessly to bring the saga of feisty soap siren Calysta Jeffries to life for almost a decade.
“In a time of breathtaking discord around race, gender and economic inclusion, I am proud as executive producer, director and co-writer to present The Rich and the Ruthless, which embodies all that entertainment and media can and should be,” said Rowell.
The TV movie, filming now in L.A. and Jamaica, boasts an all-star cast, including: Richard Brooks (Law & Order, Being Mary Jane), Alesha Renee (Girl Code, 106 & Park), Mykel Shannon Jenkins (The Bold and the Beautiful, Containment), Chrystale Wilson (A Baby for Christmas, Marry Me for Christmas), Michael Colyar (The Princess and the Frog, Mi Casa, Mi Casa), Elizabeth Carlisle (Bosch), Shadoe Stevens (The Weekly Show), Valenzia Algarin (Black Jesus), Oliver Samuels (Out the Gate), Starletta Dupois (The Notebook, Big Momma’s House), and Michael Tucci (Grease, Diagnosis Murder) Brenda Epperson (Passions, The Young and the Restless), Dawnn Lewis (Major Crimes, It's A Different World) Caryn Ward Ross (Jane the Virgin) and Hunter Bodine (Starship Troopers, The Shield).
Led by legendary businessman and producer Augustus Barringer (Richard Brooks) the company’s long-running daytime soap opera is evicted from its Hollywood sound stage after 20 years. Augustus makes the pertinent business decision, to move production of the soap to the family’s sleek Barringer villa in Montego Bay.
His regal and jealous wife Kitty (Rowell), a retired soap opera actress and socialite battling addiction, isn’t keen on the change but eventually agrees. Veronica, the Barringer’s business-minded daughter and president of the production company, fully embraces her father’s decision.
Augustus’ star, the drop dead gorgeous Calysta Jeffries, sets the screen on fire alongside the chiseled Derrick Taylor. Clearly their attraction spills off the screen. Needless to say, not everyone is happy about Calysta's popularity, especially aging suds queen Alison Fairchild Roberts (Chrystale Wilson) who is threatened by her younger co-star!
It’s lights, cameras, calamity and claws, honey! Alison’s husband and the show’s producer Randall Roberts (Bodine) has his own plans for Barringer Dramatic Television Company and is also eager to add Calysta to his roster of conquered starlets. Always close by is Calysta’s support team, Grandma Jones ( DuPois), an avid soap opera fan, and the company’s longtime confidante, 60-something serial soap star Wilie Turner (Colyar) who hates taking a pay cut and eases tensions on and off the set with his sharp wit.
As much of a mover and shaker behind the scenes as she is in front of the camera, Rowell's production compay has partnered with Jamaica’s trade and investment promotion agency, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Film Commissioner Renee Robinson and others to market and showcase not only Jamaica’s unmatched geographical landscape but the extraordinary abundance of expertise behind and in front of the camera; including line producers, crew, sound stages, equipment, editing and scoring opportunities.
The TV movie will shoot on location at the renowned Secrets Resorts and Spas. The Rich and the Ruthless is a Screen Actors Guild (SAG), ULB/New Media and FILM LA approved production. Keep checking back with Daytime Confidential for more details!