Viola Davis’ JuVee Productions inks deal with Amazon Studios

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Viola Davis

Amazon Studios has signed an exclusive first look feature production deal with Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions, and as Variety notes, the deal puts the streaming service in business with one of the most acclaimed and honored actresses of her generation.

“Amazon Studios is passionate about building a home for both new and established filmmakers of all backgrounds, who share the same vision in telling incredible and engaging human stories,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, in a statement. “Viola and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions brings distinctive, fresh voices and high-quality content to our customers in both theaters and on Prime Video.”

Tennon is an actor and producer, as well as Davis’s husband. Davis has been working with Amazon on the upcoming comedy “Troupe Zero,” which co-stars Allison Janney and Jim Gaffigan. The film will be released in 2019.

Davis is an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy winner. She headlines the ABC hit “How to Get Away With Murder” and starred in the movies “The Help,” “Fences,” and this fall’s “Widows.” As previously reported, she was selected to receive the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at The Hollywood Reporter’s 2018 Women in Entertainment breakfast on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Davis said in her acceptance speech that she and Tennon aimed to tell more diverse, inclusive stories with the founding of JuVee Productions.

“We started it because I got tired of always celebrating movies that didn’t have me in it. I don’t mean me Viola, I mean me as a black woman. I was tired of seeing the expansive imagination of writers when they wrote the mess, the joy, the beauty, the femininity of white characters,” she said. “Maybe an hour into the movie you saw the obligatory black character just kind of walking into the camera, who had a name but didn’t really need to have a name because we know nothing about them.”

To wrap up her speech, Davis said, “my big thing with JuVee Productions is there is no limit to how we see narratives for people of color — that there’s only so much that I’m going to kowtow to this business. My gift to anyone is that. Don’t let anybody tell you who you are. … This is my fist pump. This is my drop the mic. This is me.”

The JuVee pact is the latest in a slew of production partnerships for Amazon. Variety reports that the company has already done deals with Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Television, Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films, “The Handmaid’s Tale” director Reed Morano, and “Get Out” director Jordan Peele.

Likewise, fellow streaming giant Netflix recently inked massive deals with Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, and other players are expected to unveil their own production pacts.




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