Brown Sugar is a film you are going to watch if you saw Love and Basketball. It's as simple as that. Anyone who watched Sanaa Lathan dazzle as a young basketball player with a lifelong crush on the boy next door is an easy sell for her being the female lead in another romantic comedy. In Brown Sugar, she switches love interests from Omar Epps to Taye Diggs. Other than that, the song is largely the same.
Brown Sugar is being described as an urban When Harry Met Sally, which is some sort of awkward PC attempt to say that it's a friends-who-might-be-lovers-style romantic comedy with an African-American cast. Lathan is cast here as a magazine editor who has known Diggs' character, now an exec for a music label, since they were children.
The story itself hasn't gotten the attention that the film's history has received. The writer of this project, Michael Elliot, took the script he had written (then known as Seven Days) and dropped it off at the offices of Magic Johnson Entertainment. In an odd twist of fate, the film spec was purchased seven days later and Elliot's career was in motion. MTV heard about the quality of the work and hired him to write Carmen: A Hip Hopera, the film that launched the theatrical career of Beyonce Knowles (so now you know who to blame for her role in Austin Powers 3). Since then, he has also written the summer sleeper Like Mike.
Another unusual facet of Brown Sugar's production is that the film was one of the first scheduled shoots affected by the 9/11 tragedy. Principal photography had been scheduled to begin in New York City at the end of September, but due to the events of that day, there was a two-week delay in filming.
Like Two Can Play That Game last year, Brown Sugar has a small budget (estimated at $8 million) and the potential to become a very strong money earner for its studio, Fox Searchlight, relative to the cost of production and marketing. It also has the potential to be a very entertaining film with such marvelously engaging and gorgeous leads in Diggs and Lathan. (David Mumpower/BOP)