Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Dan Gross: 'Wire' kingpin in Philly shooting ... & he'll be back

JAMIE HECTOR, who played drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield on "The Wire," just wrapped shooting a film called "The Gift" in town. He stars as an aspiring rapper who runs a credit-card scam to raise money for a surgery necessary for his son, played by Tyire Johnson. Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander, of VH1's "Flavor of Love," plays his wife.



, who played drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield on "The Wire," just wrapped shooting a film called "The Gift" in town. He stars as an aspiring rapper who runs a credit-card scam to raise money for a surgery necessary for his son, played by

Tyire Johnson.

Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander

, of VH1's "Flavor of Love," plays his wife.

The film shot predominantly in Southwest Philadelphia where executive producer Steve "Stevie G" Gordon owns the Philly Breakfast Home (5355 Woodland), where the chef, Larry Washington, formerly of the Four Seasons, kept the cast and crew well fed.

Stevie G and co-executive producer Terrance Glasgow, who have backgrounds producing and managing hip-hop acts, developed the story; its screenplay was written by Ken Kushner, also director of photography, and director J. Jesses Smith, who recently worked on a movie with 50 Cent. The film also features Michael Wright, Omar White of "Oz."

Stevie G., who enlisted California producers Stevie Lockett and Troy Carter, hopes that the film plays in festivals, theaters and on cable, in addition to being issued on DVD.

Hector, who runs a New York nonprofit drama group for kids called Moving Mountains, said that he had fun at Donovan McNabb's White Party, and that he may be back in the area soon shooting another movie, about which he was mum on details.

El Wingador to fight Canseco

Five-time Wing Bowl champion Bill "El Wingador" Simmons will take on Jose Canseco July 24 at a venue to be determined, in Damon Feldman's Celebrity Boxing 10. Canseco was knocked out by NBC 10's Vai Sikahema, and fought to a draw against 94 WYSP's Danny Bonaduce in previous area bouts. As location and ticketing info is released and reality-show rejects are added to the undercard, we'll keep you posted.

Nicholson says he'll be here soon

Jack Nicholson told a fellow Lakers fan that he'll soon be shooting a movie in Philadelphia. A source reports that his son spoke to Nicholson, a courtside fixture at Lakers games for years, at one of the Lakers/Magic NBA Finals games at the Staples Center. The kid said hello to Nicholson and mentioned that he lived near Philadelphia, which prompted the actor to say that he would be working in the area very soon.

Nicholson is undoubtedly referring to the "Untitled James L. Brooks Comedy," formerly called "How Do You Know," in which he's reported to be considering taking the role of Paul Rudd's father. The film also stars Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson.

A film spokesman says that Nicholson's casting has yet to be confirmed but that the movie starts shooting here in early-mid July after they wrap in D.C.

John Blunt retires from NBC 10

NBC 10's John Blunt is retiring this week and says that he came to that decision while covering the Amish school shooting in Lancaster County in Oct. 2006 - though he did finish out his last contract. "One body too many," says Blunt, 68. "I came back and I told my news director, 'I can't do it anymore. I'm just tired of seeing killings," says Blunt, who graduated from Olney High with Mike Strug, who retired from NBC 10 last week.

Asked what he plans to do with his time, he answers, well, bluntly: "Right away? Nothing." Blunt says that he's going to unwind and, since he worked weekends for so long, he's going to try and spend a lot of time with his son Julian, a student at Florida Southern University, who is home for the summer. Blunt was at NBC 10 for 25 years, on TV for 41.

* Also leaving NBC 10 is Eva Blackwell, who worked for seven years as station spokeswoman. Blackwell previously worked at TV12, MyPhl17 and WYBE, where she hosted a show called "Philly Live." She left the station Friday and is pursuing a Master's degree from Seton Hall and working on several PR projects.

PABJ honors Jenice, others

Congrats to Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong, who was named Print Journalist of the Year by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists in a Saturday night ceremony at CBS 3. Art Fennell of the Comcast Network received Broadcast Journalist of the Year.

6ABC's Denise James produced video packages on the award recipients including the late Jack Jones, the first African-American male anchor in Philadelphia, who was honored with the Trailblazer Award.

6ABC's Lisa Thomas-Laury was presented the Lifetime Achievement award and gave a moving speech, in part touching on her return to the airwaves after being sidelined for several years with a rare neurological disease called POEMS syndrome.

Clear Channel Radio's Loraine Ballard Morrill received a Community Service award at the event, emceed by KYW NewsRadio 1060's Vince Hill and organized by PABJ President Sarah J. Glover, a Daily News photographer, and CBS 3 assistant news director Cesar Aldama.

Out and about

_ Paris Hilton was accompanied by Heatherette designer Richie Rich to her Saturday night appearance at the Borgata's mur.mur nightclub, where she danced in her Christian Louboutin heels. Earlier, Paris dined at Izakaya. The heiress, who stayed at the Water Club, and was recently linked to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, wouldn't tell Erin Elmore whether she has a boyfriend or not.

Elmore, an attorney and former "Apprentice" castmate, interviewed Hilton for a Borgata entertainment website launching soon.

_ Boston-bred Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was quietly cheering for the Red Sox Friday night at Citizens Bank Park, where he hosted linebacker Stewart Bradley, some of Bradley's relatives and some friends in the Eagles suite.

* "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" creator Rob McElhenney and co-star/wife, Kaitlin Olson, played Connect Four at the Raven Lounge (1712 Sansom) while show director, Fred Savage, played the Megatouch trivia machine the other night. Raven bouncer Big J was recruited by producers to work on the "Sunny" set last week.

* While No Doubt's Gwen Stefani was rocking the stage at the Susquehanna Bank Center, in Camden, Thursday night, her musician husband Gavin Rossdale was backstage watching the couple's sons, Kingston and Zuma. *

Visit for Dan's latest updates or follow PhillyGossip on Twitter. Have a tip? Call 215-854-5963, or e-mail For recent columns, visit