Producer Phillip Rodriguez Acquires Rights To ‘The Strange Career of William Ellis’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Passing, Slavery, United States on 2019-08-21 23:02Z by Steven

Producer Phillip Rodriguez Acquires Rights To ‘The Strange Career of William Ellis’

Deadline: Breaking Hollywood News Since 2006
2019-08-21

Dino-Ray Ramos, Associate Editor/Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: Producer and indie filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez has optioned the film and TV rights to Karl Jacoby’s book The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire. Rodriguez is set to develop and produce the narrative-based project

Jacoby’s prize-winning book tells the true story of William Ellis, a larger-than-life figure who was born on the U.S.-Mexico border in the twilight of slavery and inhabited a world divided along ambiguous racial lines. Adopting the name Guillermo Eliseo, he passed as Mexican, transcending racial lines to become fabulously wealthy as a Wall Street banker, diplomat, and owner of scores of mines and haciendas south of the border. In The Strange Career of William Ellis, Columbia University historian Jacoby weaves an astonishing tale of cunning, scandal, self-invention and the abiding riddle of race in America

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Steve Byrne: Irish-Korean American Writes About His Life for TV

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-08-18 16:50Z by Steven

Steve Byrne: Irish-Korean American Writes About His Life for TV

CAAM (Center for Asian American Media)
2014-08-15

Dino-Ray Ramos

For three seasons on network TV, an Irish-Korean American comedian has been writing and starring in his own show, to little fanfare. Now, Steve Byrne of TBS’ Sullivan & Son shares how he nabbed a sitcom deal, what it’s like being mixed race in Hollywood, and writing his reality.

Byrne got his start in the comedy club scene in the Big Apple. If there is one date that Byrne remembers, it’s the date of his first stand-up gig. After finishing school in Ohio, he moved to New York City and crashed on his parents’ couch. While looking for a job, he stumbled upon the popular comedy club, Carolines. He would watch stand-up comedians on stage and thought it looked like fun. Four months later, on September 30, 1997, he tried it out and said he just knew right away that that’s what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

The season finale of Sullivan & Son airs Tuesday, August 19th on TBS with special guest star Margaret Cho. I had a chance to sit down with Byrne for an extensive chat about his show and about race in Hollywood.

Where did the idea of Sullivan & Son come from?
Vince (Vaughn) and I used to hike all the time. He said, “You should write some for yourself because your opportunities are limited given your background.” In Hollywood, I went for Asian roles but I wasn’t Asian enough and I’d go for white roles and wasn’t white enough.

I bought a bunch of books, I studied. About eight months later, I turned the script to Vince. He took a look at it and said it’s pretty good. We went to meet with some showrunners. I met with Rob Long and Peter Billingsley who work with Vince Vaughn. All of us have been pals for a long time. We finessed the script. Turned it from a diner into a bar, made it a thousand times funnier, and I think within a few months, we were making it…

Read the entire interview here.

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