She’s already built a successful enterprise of best-selling novels, her two highly rated cable television series, Sex Chronicles and The Jump Off, are must-see TV on Cinemax, and her first play, The Other Side of the Pillow, opens Oct. 21 in Dallas.
Next up is the big screen.
The woman known simply as Zane made her motion-picture executive-producing debut Friday, with the much-anticipated release of Addicted. It likely won’t be the weekend’s top draw (it will only open in 800 theaters — compared to 2,700 for actor Robert Downey Jr.’s The Judge ), but that doesn’t mean it will not be successful.
“If my fans show up and show out, Addicted will do extremely well,” Zane predicted in a recent interview with AtlantaBlackStar.com.
Zane gives off a cool-sister-from-around-the-way vibe, with a cadence of confidence that befits someone aspiring to Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhimes and Oprah Winfrey land.
And make no mistake, that’s where Zane is headed. Her Facebook friends list is in two-comma territory, and many Hollywood executives are yearning to work with her. Zane has purposely kept them at bay because she never rushes decisions.
“The thing that confuses people about me is there is no sense of desperation,” she said. “If you are around me at all, you know that I am not desperate to make anything happen.”
She follows her instincts, only taking on subjects she is passionate about and projects she finds creatively challenging.
“I’m very cognizant of knowing what I can do or cannot do,” she said.
At this point, Zane is also handling some personal finance issues. An article in the Oct. 4 Washington Post reported Zane filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of Maryland on June 11. When asked to comment, Zane quickly responded, “I don’t have anything to say about that.”
Her fans don’t seem to care. Check out her Facebook page and the majority of the conversation is about Addicted, the screen version of what Zane described as the most successful African-American book of the past 15 years. Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls and Why Did I Get Married) stars as Zoe Reynard, the beautiful wife of Jason (Boris Kodjoe). The couple has it all: great careers, beautiful kids, lovely home. But Zoe has a problem: she can’t keep her panties on. And her sex addiction, not surprisingly, impacts the whole family. Anyone familiar with Zane’s work knows this can only lead to all manner of ups and downs, with every character showing easily relatable passion and vulnerability.
Even with such a limited release, Lionsgate has given Addicted the full blitz, running the trailer with the box office smash No Good Deed, Denzel Washington’s recent release The Equalizer and Ben Affleck’s new movie Gone Girl. The studio also set up a special Fathom event in Harlem, featuring a live broadcast of a panel discussion with the main cast members that will be piped into 500 theaters nationwide. Estelle is also scheduled to perform.
That’s the type of support studios give to big, needle-moving productions. But Zane isn’t admitting to feeling any pressure. Knowing No Good Deed was No. 1 its first weekend, pulling in an estimated $24 million, may have many industry insiders ready to compare the opening numbers for Addicted to Deed because of its appeal to Black moviegoers.
“The audiences are similar,” Zane conceded.
What she didn’t mention was Deed opened in over 2,000 theaters. So there’s really not a comparison.
The support Zane offers authors can’t be duplicated, either. At last count, 60 authors were working under her Strebor book imprint for Simon and Schuster. That number will climb in February after The Trouble with the Truth by Edna Robinson launches under Atria, Zane’s second imprint with Simon and Schuster. Soon to follow in July will be Zane’s writing self-help guide on how to get published, Infinite Words.
Bottom line, Zane is getting it done in more ways than one.