Chad Johnson Stars in New Overtown Movie Filming in Miami
In Hollywood, they say if you don't see movies or roles out there that properly represent you, write them yourself. That's what filmmaker Cess Silvera did with his latest film, Overtown, which is set to film in Miami this month.
Photos courtesy of Ethnicity Models Star of the film, Chad Johnson, with LaShawnna Stanley and the film's director, Cess Silvera.
Silvera, whose previous work includes Shottas (2002) and G.E.D. (2009), likes to write, direct, and produce his films, and Overtown is no different. The filmmakers are keeping most details under wraps. But LaShawnna Stanley, who did the casting for the film, can promise two things: It'll be a true-to-life Miami tale, and it'll star Chad Johnson, the artist formerly known as Chad Ochocinco.
Stanley, CEO of Ethnicity Models, Talent and Casting, handled the casting for the film and is now assisting with the filming. She describes the film as "a story about three unlikely friends who come from different racial backgrounds with one thing in common: surviving the streets of Overtown, one of Miami's grittiest neighborhoods." The three main characters are rich with dreams but poor in finances, she explains; "seduced by Miami's nightlife and drug trade, they get mixed up in it all and lose a lot along the way -- mostly their innocence, naiveté, and dreams."
Stanley admits the streets are tough, and people living outside its borders are unaware of what really goes down in Overtown. Silvera's Overtown "will help shed light on this historic town... this preeminent 'colored town' that [once] had the makings of a small Harlem, New York."
Some might compare Overtown to the recent Fruitvale Station, a film that also depicts "the struggles of the streets and how innocent people can get caught up," as Stanley puts it. But Stanley also points out how Fruitvale and Overtown are very different in context -- one taking place in California's Bay Area, and the other across the country in Miami.
In fact, one of the best parts about Overtown is that it is being filmed right here in the Magic City, Stanley says. "It is very important that this movie is filmed in Miami because it is about Miami and letting people know what [our city] is about from other viewpoints, like Cess Silvera's." From big action films like Iron Man 3 to the handful of reality shows that shoot on location here, Hollywood has a big say in how people outside Miami view this city, so we're in need of a more heartfelt movie, one with fewer explosions and catfights. Stanley also hopes that filming on location in Miami will "encourage other film projects to film here as well, putting more local talent to work and bringing in revenue for the city."