Actor and Howard University alumnus Lance Gross goes to the dark side in TV One’s latest movie exploring domestic violence, trauma and tragedy.
TV One premiered “When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” on Monday, Aug. 14 at the Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, Maryland. The movie tells the true story of Falicia Blakely, once profiled in the network’s “Fatal Attraction” series.
Blakely, a teen mom growing up without guidance in Atlanta, becomes an exotic dancer, attracting the attention of many men. One man in particular, Dino, fills a void of love she’s looking for. She eventually discovers that he’s a pimp, but love makes her stay with the man who takes from and abuses her.
His empty promises of a life together turn Falicia into a pawn in his dangerous games, and she’s forced to prove her love for him at the expense of innocent lives.
Actress Tasha Smith, who made her feature-length directorial debut, challenged the hundreds in attendance at the premiere to examine how Falicia’s life could’ve been different had she received the mothering and love she needed at home.
Niatia “Lil’ Mama” Kirkland stars as Falicia, Tami Roman stars as her mother, while Lance Gross makes a departure from his usual roles by playing the villainous pimp.
The movie also features guest spots by Floyd Mayweather, Big Freedia and Lil Zane.
After the success of its original TV movies “Ruth: “I Just Want What’s Mine!” and “Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story,” TV One wanted to continue to create movies that give black actors an opportunity to show their chops.
“So many people have got their start on TV One and it’s led them to bigger roles and more opportunities,” said D’Angela Proctor, TV One’s senior vice president of original programming and production. “Right now Lance isn’t here at this screening because Lee Daniels saw him in ‘When Love Kills’ and was blown away, so now he’s on set working with him.
“That’s what we do at TV One,” Proctor said. “We give opportunities.”
“When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story” premieres on TV One Monday, Aug. 28 at 9 p.m. EST.