Getting a film made isn’t getting any easier, even when a project seems to hit all the right notes at the right time.
Witness the fate of “Colors Straight Up,” which had been in various stages of development at MGM the past six years.
Based on an Oscar-nommed docu about two men who set up an antigang program in South Los Angeles’ Dorsey High School, the film seemed to have plenty going for it.
It was cheap (around $15 million), had a name star (Morgan Freeman, whose company was producing with veteran Hawk Koch) and — in the wake of “8 Mile,” “Drumline” and “Chicago” — it would seem to be timely (it’s a hip-hop musical/romance featuring lots of young up-and-comers). To top it off, the film seemed to fit MGM’s post-“Barbershop” focus on urban-themed projects.
But MGM has suddenly bailed. The Lion killed the project just seven weeks before shooting was to start — for reasons that remain unclear. Miramax, which MGM reportedly asked to come aboard in a co-production deal similar to their joint “Brothers Grimm” project, also passed.
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Puzzled producers are shopping the project elsewhere. But for a musical that seemed to finally be singing the right song, the sudden shift has sounded a discordant note.