Leaving Atlanta Film

When Keeping It Real Goes RIGHT


Originally uploaded by kleopatrjones

Do you love the picture here? Please say yes. This is Chaz Fleming who plays Jashante in the short film version of Leaving Atlanta. Producer, Aletha Spann, snapped this and a few other candids on her cell phone at the rehearsals on Saturday.

In Leaving Atlanta, Jashante is the boy that is sort of from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s only in the fifth grade because he’s been held back and is sort of dangerous and exciting to LaTasha. And, as you can imagine, he is sort of dangerous and not exciting at all to her daddy! But here’s the thing. He’s in the fifth grade. How scary can a fifth grader be, even if he really should be in the sixth, or even the seventh? Chaz Fleming is perfectly cast in this role. You can see all of this on his face. The thrill of being bigger than all the other kids, and the same of it, too. And, I imagine, you can see why Miss Latasha Denise Baxter, is so attracted to him. Tween love. Ain’t it grand?

You can see some of the other on the Leaving Atlanta: The Film tumblr page.

I love the casting choices so far. When I look at these pics, I see kids, not “actors.” One thing I think is wrong with so many Hollywood movies is that the people don’t seem real. Those of us who grew up in Atlanta during the Child Murders will tell you– we were still real kids doing real kid stuff. People sometimes say to me, “You poor thing, you must not have had a childhood!” But we did have a childhood. It was sometimes stressfull, sometimes scary, but it was our and it was lovely and funny, and heartbreaking, innocent at times, and disillusioning at others. Because of the events of 1979, we were not quite like other kids, but in so many ways, we were just like you.

Aletha says that she will release the actors headshots soon, but she wanted me to see them first as Tasha, Monica, Jashante, etc. I am so glad she did.

Delighted, actually.

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Onward, indeed!

About three years ago, Aletha Spann, an ambitious young filmmaker Leaving Atlantaoptioned the movie rights to my first novel, Leaving Atlanta. This was pretty exciting but I understood (and still understand) that an option is but one small baby step to actually have a movie on the screen. But still, it’s a pretty thrilling to think about.
Still, it’s a thrillling thing to think about that I hadn’t thought about in quite some time. So just imagine my shock yesterday morning when I got a message from twitter that @LeavingATLmovie was following my feed. And when I clicked, this is what I saw:

@LeavingATLmovie: we’re auditioning Los Angeles African-American boys and girls ages 9-13…see our posting at LA Casting

This, of course, led to me checking out the website for the movie, which is pretty fabulous. It’s still early in the game. She can’t film the trailer til she gets the actors in place, but I am very very pleased with what I have seen so far.
This morning, I woke up and checked the twitter feed again.

@LeavingATLmovie: Today’s been crazy. With the announcement of castings we, have been going through a deluge of submissions. Onward!

Onward, indeed!

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