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About The Cast And Characters

With its stellar ensemble of African American actors, "Kingdom Come" tells the uniquely human and universal story about the trials and tribulations experienced by one family as they gather to remember and bury their patriarch, Woodrow "Daddy Bud" Slocumb.

Director Doug McHenry and producers John Morrissey and Edward Bates agreed that there was only one actress they wanted for the role of Raynelle Slocumb, matriarch of the Slocumb family: Academy Award® winner Whoopi Goldberg.

"We were blessed to get this cast and especially to get Whoopi," says McHenry, director of "Jason's Lyric," and co-director of "House Party 2" with his late partner George Jackson. "She's one of the leading female box office champions of all time and a tremendous actress. She does pictures of all sizes and roles of all kinds and she brings something different to the screen every time out."

Having recently limited her film roles, Goldberg took the role of Raynelle based on Bottrell's script. "I've done the quintessential comedic parts. You have to know when there's something that you should be doing that may 'wake you up,"' says Goldberg. "But if the script isn't there, there's no reason for me to try to prove that I can act. I'm lucky enough to have the kind ofjob where I don't have to take things and make them better: I can actually be in things that make me better. This is one of those scripts."

Bates, producer of the 1997 Sundance hit. "The Last Time I Committed Suicide" and Morrissey, who produced the Academy Award nominated "American History X," characterize Goldberg as the "godmother" of the production. "Whoopi was the first actor committed to the project, and that was the magnet that helped us pull in all of these other terrific actors," said Bates.

The rest of the cast was drawn to the film by their love for David Dean Bottrell & Jessie Jones' script and for the opportunity to work with Goldberg.

Jada Pinkett Smith plays the long-suffering, over-the-top Charisse. "My character is very vocal about her frustrations in life. She's very vocal about everything!" laughed Pinkett Smith. "Charisse is way 'out there' and there aren't many similarities between us. Whoopi was helpful in showing me a more subtle kind of timing, because comedy is not something I do very often in film. There are many different levels of comedy and I've learned a lot about that from her."

Cast as "Daddy Bud's" eldest son, Ray Bud, rap star turned actor LL Cool J feels that a lot of people can relate to not being close with a parent. "Ray Bud has just lost his father, a man he didn't have a strong relationship with," said the actor. "When his father dies, things break loose for him emotionally and also spiritually, on some level. Through the course of the story, Ray Bud has to work out some demons."

With a few exceptions, the actors have worked together previously in films, television or in music videos at various stages in their careers. For example, Vivica A. Fox cast as the caring, eager to please Lucille, co-starred with Jada Pinkett Smith in the hit drama "Set It Off." Fox also starred in the Morrissey-produced comedy "Booty Call" and made her feature film debut opposite Pinkett Smith's husband, Will Smith in "Independence Day."

The actors' familiarity with one another was one of the keys to the production, according to Fox. "Everyone in the cast are good friends," she said. "We say 'good morning' and 'good night' to each other, which doesn't happen on some sets. The fact that we've all worked together before helps to break the ice of actors getting to know each other. We had a short amount of time to get a lot of work done."

Loretta Devine was tapped for the role of the sanctimonious, full-volume mama, Marguerite,<

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