Movie offers sex, sordid scandals

Imagine your most erotic fantasy. Now, picture a place where it could come true.

All you have to do is open “Pandora’s Box”.

“Pandora’s Box is an erotic thriller.” said Rob Hardy, the movie’s director/writer and a FAMU alumnus.

“It’s a cross between ‘Basic Instinct’ and ‘Eyes Wide Shut,'” he said.

The movie stars Monica Calhoun, from the “The Best Man,” Michael Jai White, from”Spawn,” Kristoff St. John from “The Young and the Restless,” Joseph Lawrence from “Urban Legends” and the television show “Blossom,” and model Tyson Beckford.

Mia DuBois, played by Calhoun, is a successful psychologist who feels trapped in a loveless marriage. She becomes tangled in a web of sex and murder.

The plot is similar to the Greek myth the film is named after.

“When you open the box all hell can break loose, and when the box is closed the only thing left inside is hope,” Hardy said.

“It’s a film that pays homage to classic American film noir, yet also explores the often ignored sexuality of many ethnicities,” said co-producer Gregory Anderson.

With the recent increase in films targeting blacks, Hardy said the film’s strength is “it was written with out color in mind.”

The film has already received critical acclaim.

It was nominated at this year’s American Black Film Festival for Best Feature Film and Calhoun won the Audience Award for Best Performance by an Actress.

The film is also making a buzz on campus.

For many the film’s sexual premise is the draw.

“I’ve never seen so much hype about a movie through word of mouth on campus,” said Aaron Brown, 20, a junior computer information systems student from Newport News, Va. “I heard the movie is extreme, I mean sex, murder – everything.”

Keith Thompson, a FAMU alumnus, saw the movie in Jacksonville, where it premiered in early August.

“I saw it twice. It is Hardy’s best film to date. It had a good theme. It could have been better. It could have had a better flow and better acting. I still recommend everyone see it.”

“Pandora’s Box” is the second release from Rainforest Productions.

Director Rob Hardy and producer William Packer started the company in 1994 after the success of their first film “Chocolate City.”

“Chocolate City,” a coming of age movie about a young man trying to define himself at an HBCU, was shot on FAMU’s campus.

The company’s first release “Trois” was a surprise success, too.

In the movie’s first weekend, it earned the highest per screen average of any film in the county, according to the production company’s web site.

The movie was also named one of the top 50 highest grossing independent films by “Daily Variety,” in 2001.

Both “Chocolate City” and “Trois” can be bought on the company’s web site, “Pandora’s Box” premieres in Tallahassee theatres today

Melissa Brown can be reached at