HOLLYWOOD (WWJ) – Over the past several years, Common has certainly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. A quick glance at his professional profile on IMDb shows he’s been in movies and TV shows too numerous to mention. And now, he’s starring in “LUV,” a film by first-time feature film director Sheldon Candis.

“LUV” is a rather complicated story that deals with complicated issues and complicated people. There’s 11-year-old Woody, who desperately wants to be reunited with his mother, who’s away at a drug rehabilitation center in North Carolina. Vincent (Woody’s uncle) seems to want to do what’s best for his impressionable nephew, but when things don’t go as planned when he tries to raise the money he needs to open his new business, he drags Woody into the very world he says he wants to escape.

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On a day when Woody should be in school, he’s riding around town in Vincent’s Benz, while his uncle teaches him “street smarts” – exposing him to killers, drug dealers and the like. Woody listens to Vincent – anxious to please him and believing that his uncle will take him to North Carolina to be with his mother.

While watching the events of the day unfold, one can’t help but wonder who would do such a thing? Who would take a child around known killers – people with no problem pointing a gun in your face – or around drug dealers and thugs? But, as is made painfully clear in “LUV,” there is a side of life that some people don’t normally see, but just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. In fact, the screenplay for “LUV” was based on the experiences of both co-writers.

“There were whispers that an older family member was a drug dealer,” Sheldon Candis says. “I sometimes rode shotgun with him, and even though I had heard the stories, I was a 9-year-old excited to be hanging out with my hero. During those rides, he would explain to me what it takes to be a man.”

As for Candis’ co-writer, Justin Wilson, he says he, too, remembers “late-night conversations with an older, streetwise family member.”

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“I was never allowed to drive the car or shoot a gun, like Vincent does with Woody,” Wilson says. “But unlike the rest of the men in my family, who are mostly lawyers
and accountants, this man didn’t have a steady job. I connected with him because he never sugarcoated things. He would take me to the racetrack and talk to me about girls and other things my parents were reluctant to talk to me about.”

“LUV” is a movie definitely worth seeing. It’s real people’s lives brought to life on the Big Screen. And, just keepin’ it real, with so many babies raising babies in today’s society, it just might open some eyes, reminding viewers that, yes, actions do have consequences. Whether those consequences will be good or bad will, in most cases, depend on the examples set by those around them.

In addition to Common, who stars as Vincent, newcomer Michael Rainey Jr. stars as Woody, Dennis Haysbert is Mr. Fish, Danny Glover is Arthur, Charles S. Dutton is Cofield, and Lonette McKee plays Grandma Beanie. Meagan Good is also featured, as Beverly Freeman, Vincent’s former love.

View the official website and trailer here and I’ll see you at the movies!

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