Recently, it was announced that a biopic covering the life of late comedian Bernie Mac has been put into the works, with John Legend acting as the producer. While it’s too early to tell who’ll play The Original Kings of Comedy and Ocean’s Trilogy icon, there are a couple distinct possibilities that have been mentioned. Both suggestions have come from none other than Mac's daughter, Je'Niece McCullough, and they’re absolutely dynamite suggestions that could gather steam.
As she spoke with TMZ about the upcoming Bernie Mac biopic, Je'Niece dropped two names for consideration: One Night In Miami star Aldis Hodge and YouTube comedian Mark Phillips. In McCullough’s opinion, Hodge would make the perfect actor to play Mac in his adult years, while Phillips is her choice for the younger piece of the story. What makes these choices exciting is not only do both feel like fantastic choices for this still-developing project, according to McCullough, her mother/the head of Bernie Mac’s estate, Rhonda McCullough, also approves of both options.
Looking at both Aldis Hodge and Mark Phillips, the possibilities are already pretty spectacular. Hodge in particular has been recently gathering steam in his career, with Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man also adding to his rising star power. Plus, the experiences on several biopics like Hidden Figures, Straight Outta Compton, and director Regina King’s One Night in Miami have already established Hodge’s credentials as an actor familiar with what that type of film requires. So having Mr. Hodge playing the later years of Bernie Mac’s life is half of the puzzle solved right there.
And then there’s Mark Phillips, the YouTube star who, according to this interview, has reminded Je'Niece McCullough of the comedic energy that her own father gave off. Earmarking him as the younger Bernie Mac for this new film, there was even a video shared along with the remarks that McCullough had given on the record. After watching the clip included below, it’s hard not to agree with that possibility as well:
Dying unexpectedly in 2008 due to complications from pneumonia, Bernie Mac left behind a legacy of comedy that was sharp, but warm. Writing several books and making an impact in the world of movies and television while he could, his special brand of laughter is never going to be easy to recapture. But if Ja’Niece and Rhonda McCullough are confident enough in their choices, that could bode well for both actors in the near future.
As John Legend is building this project with Rhonda McCullough, the opinions of both Rhonda and Ja’niece are pretty crucial to how this untitled film moves forward. With Aldis Hodge and Mark Phillips getting an early start over the competition, there’s a chance they could go the distance. But, of course, that depends on how things move forward with the project at large. In the meantime, 2021’s movie schedule is as clear as it can be, ready for audiences to find their next source of laughter.