Monique plays Emma Leeden, an author who recently lost her husband and two children during a home invasion. A year after the incident, Emma is still deeply scarred by the events and keeps away from the public in a fortified home. When she decides to detail the horrific experience in her new book, Invasion, her manager arranges a staged reading to generate press and hires a medium, Sky Brown (Chasity Sereal), to lead.
Although Emma doesn’t buy into Sky’s connection with the spirits, she’s quickly proven wrong when the medium is possessed by a dark spirit presenting itself as one of Emma’s daughters. Trapped in the author’s home, the group faces off against a terrifying force that they can’t get away from.
Denisha Hardeman, Ian Haywood, Charlene Brown, Lisa Alavi and Sara Alavi also star in the BET+ thriller written and directed by Courtney Glaudé.
“The Reading is a rollercoaster of a project that I am thrilled to see come to life,” Glaudé shared in a statement. “I am a fan of the surgical performance by Mo’Nique, and the love and commitment from the entire cast during the pandemic. I appreciate the dedication to bringing this, as I was told, ‘sick’ vision of mine to the screen; and of course Lee Daniels for being crazy enough to executive produce the project and believing in me. I can’t wait for the audience to think they know, but have no idea what’s going to happen. I promise you…it’s crazy.”
The film is the first project Mo’Nique and Daniels have worked on together in over a decade. The pair have been at odds since the release of their Academy Award-winning film, Precious, in 2009.
After winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her critically acclaimed performance as the titular character’s abusive mother, Mary, the 55-year-old comedian made headlines in 2015 when she claimed she was “blackballed” from Hollywood, naming Daniels as one of the culprits.
Mo’Nique told ET that Daniels was the one to inform her of her “blackballing,” explaining some were upset that she didn’t “campaign” for her Oscar.
“Because the calls didn’t stop coming once I won the award, the scripts didn’t stop coming. But what did happen was the calls and the scripts that were coming and the offers that were being made was as if I had just gotten to Hollywood off the Greyhound bus. And I was like, ‘I can’t accept that,'” she explained.
For his part, Daniels told ET that he simply gave the actress a straight answer.
“Maybe she could construe it that way,” Daniels said. “What I told her was, she asked me, ‘Why haven’t I worked?’ And I said, ‘You pissed a lot of people off. You know, you were making demands.'”
“But I’m her friend and I love her and I want to work her, you know what I mean?” he added. “I want to work with her again. I keep it real all the time. She asked a question, I answered the question. Maybe something will come along. Hopefully something will come along — I mean, she was fabulous in [Precious], wasn’t she?”
Almost 10 years later, the duo patched things up in April 2022, with the actress bringing the director onstage during her Mo’Nique and Friends: April Fools Day With the Queen of Comedy show on Staten Island, New York.
“I am so sorry for hurting you in any way that I did. She was my best friend, my best friend. Y’all think that Precious was just— that was God working, through both of us. And we’re going to f**king do it again!” Daniels told Mo’Nique, according to People.
The two then exchanged “I love yous” as the audience cheered.
The Reading will premiere on BET+ Feb. 2.
Source: Entertainment Tonight, People