Preston A. Whitmore II

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Preston Whitmore
PW 2 copy
Born Preston A. Whitmore II
(1962-06-26) June 26, 1962 (age 52)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Occupation Writer, producer, director
Notable work(s) This Christmas (2007)
Doing Hard Time (2004)
Fled (1996)

Preston Alexander Whitmore II (born June 26, 1962) is a US screenwriter, producer, and director. Preston Whitmore is best known for his 2007 comedy-drama This Christmas. The film garnered Preston an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Directing in 2008. Whitmore has a number of television and feature film projects in development at his Los Angeles based production company, The Preston Picture Company.



Early life[edit]

Whitmore was born in 1962 in Detroit, the third and youngest child of Shirley and Preston Alexander Whitmore, Sr. After dropping out of high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he acquired his GED and began taking college courses focusing on law enforcement and criminal procedure. Upon being meritoriously promoted to Corporal and after being honorably discharged from the Marines, he settled in California, went to Los Angeles City College where he received his Associates Degree in Arts. He subsequently transferred to California State University, Northridge where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in political science. After graduating from CSUN, Whitmore attended the University of Laverne School of Law where he began developing his skill as a writer, winning the esteemed American Jurisprudence Award.

Film[edit]

Whitmore entered the entertainment industry first as a rapper and lyricist for Brian and Eddie Holland of Motown fame. He turned his attention to screenwriting when Motown lyricist and recording artist, Angelo Bond, told him his stories were too big for a three minute song. Following Bond's advice, Whitmore made two short films, This End of The Couch, starring Lewis Dix, Charles Holman and comic genius Reynaldo Rey and No Reply starring Giancarlo Esposito and Darryl Sivad. Whitmore later established himself as one of the entertainment industry's most prolific writers, having sold a number of high profile spec scripts and was named by Fade-In Magazine one of Hollywood's Hottest Young Writers.

Whitmore made his filmmaking debut by writing and directing The Walking Dead (1995), chronicling the lives and mission of four African American soldiers in Vietnam. He was inspired to make this film after having served in the Marine Corp. It starred Allen Payne, Eddie Griffin, Joe Morton, Vonte Sweet, and Bernie Mac. Thereafter he wrote and executive produced Fled (1996), an action picture starring Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin as two prisoners escape on the lam to find a hidden cache of cash and incriminating computer disk that would bring down the Cuban Mafia.

Laurence Fishburne and Stephen Baldwin in Fled

His work has often focused on the disporportionate incarceration of African American men and women. This is addressed in three films he wrote and produced. The first Lockdown (2000), starring Richard T. Jones, Gabriel Casseus and De' Aundre Bonds as a group of friends unjustly imprisoned, tracking the gritty dissolution of their innocence and friendship behind bars. The film released under Rainforest Columbia Tri-star collaboration, was one of Columbia Tri-Star's top selling independent releases. Civil Brand (2002), which focuses on slave-labor programs in women prisons. This independent shoestring production starring Lisa Raye, N'Bushe Wright, Monica Calhoun, Mos Def, Clifton Powell and Da Brat, won the Blockbuster Award for Best film, Best Actor; Clifton Powell, 2002 American Black Film Festival; Audience Award for Best Film, Special Jury Prize, and 2002 Urbanworld Film Festival and featured at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

In 2004, after completing a production rewrite of the Get Shorty sequel entitled Be Cool, Whitmore wrote, produced and directed the Screen Gems film, Doing Hard Time (2004), starring Boris Kodjoe, Michael K. Williams, Giancarlo Esposito and Sticky Fingaz.

Moving away from the gritty subject matter of prison films, Whitmore wrote and directed the basketball drama, Crossover (2006), a film shot in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan about street basketball starring Anthony Mackie, Wesley Jonathan, Wayne Brady, and Allen Payne.

Whitmore wrote, produced, and directed This Christmas (2007), starring Loretta Devine, Idris Elba, Lauren London, Regina King, and Chris Brown. It is a Christmastime drama centered around the Whitfield family's first holiday together in four years. The motion picture was inspired by individuals in Whitmore's actual family, the three Whitfield sons representing Whitmore in different phases of his life. The film won The Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Actress in a Movie; Sharon Leal, nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture; Loretta Devine, an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture; Preston A. Whitmore, II, and an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance; Chris Brown.

THIS CHRISTMAS

Television and Theater[edit]

Whitmore has also worked in television and theater writing episodes for the half hour situation comedy, Malcolm & Eddie, starring Malcolm Jamal Warner and Eddie Griffin. Whitmore brought his talent for creating compelling characters to the stage, writing and directing two plays Five A.M. starring Yvonna Kopacz-Wright portraying five characters - each of whom possesses distinctly personal views on the role of women in the world today, most notably "Lilith". And, Preston Whitmore's PIMP starring Paul Farmer about an unapologetic hustler named Slim Jenkins who is remembered in death in comic and poignant ways by those whose lives he touched. Both plays debuted at the famed Tiffany Theater on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. In addition, Whitmore also wrote and produced the television motion picture crime thriller, Blood Crime (2002), starring James Caan and Jonathan Schaech.

Radio[edit]

Whitmore also lends his talents to his church, Arise Christian Center, producing a weekly syndicated radio program "Encouraging You To Go Higher" with Pastor Ron Taylor on 102.3 KJLH at 8 p.m. Sunday evening. [1]

Filmography[edit]

  1. 2008 Dough Boys (Producer, Writer)
  2. 2007 This Christmas (Writer, Producer, Director)[2]
  3. 2006 Crossover (Writer, Director)[3]
  4. 2004 Doing Hard Time (Writer, Producer, Director)
  5. 2002 Blood Crime (TV) (Writer, Producer)
  6. 2000 Civil Brand (Writer, Producer)
  7. 2000 Lockdown (Writer)
  8. 1996 Fled (Writer, Executive Producer)
  9. 1995 The Walking Dead (Writer, Director)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2008 NAACP Image Award Nominees". 
  2. ^ Johnson, G. Allen (November 21, 2007). "Review: Home for the holidays, with a few secrets in tow". SFGate. 
  3. ^ Hartlaub, Peter (September 1, 2006). "Team has some worthy players, but there's not enough game". SFGate.