Netflix’s brand new original film is End of the Road, a grounded action thriller starring Queen Latifah, Ludacris, and Beau Bridges. The movie deals with a road trip gone wrong as a family is pursued by an ominous killer.
Latifah, who has transitioned from music to acting for a significant period of time is also joined by newcomers like Mychala Lee and Shaun Dixon as well as seasoned veterans like Frances Lee McCain who has acted in several cult hits from the 80s and 90s. All in all, it is a well-rounded and rather unexpected cast of talented performers.
An acclaimed rapper and singer, Latifah has not just done dramatic and comedic roles in her film career but also had significant parts in musicals like Chicago and Hairspray. The lead actress of End of the Road has also had the privilege of playing notable blues singer and pop culture icon Bessie Smith in the Emmy-winning Bessie.
The movie covers Smith’s rise in popularity in the 1920s and the 1930s along with her personal relationships with her first husband and her rumored lover Ma Rainey, an equally iconic singer of whom Bessie was a protégé. One of the best performances in recent musical biopics, Latifah bagged nominations at the Emmys and the Golden Globes.
Jeff Bridges’ older brother Beau has been a staple in several movies and shows since way back in the 1940s! In End of the Road, Bridges plays the movie’s big baddie Mr. Cross.
More recently, he has won acclaim for his guest role in Masters of Sex. Starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as a real-life pair of groundbreaking scientists, Masters of Sex uses dry humor and period drama to showcase the early days of understanding sex from a clinical perspective. Bridges plays the recurring character Barton Scully, a medical school provost who is also a longtime friend of Sheen’s Dr. William Masters. For his performance, Bridges earned himself two consecutive Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series.
Queen Latifah isn’t the only singer-turned-actor as rapper Ludacris also joins the cast, playing Reggie, the brother of Latifah’s protagonist Brenda.
Credited as Chris Bridges in this movie, Ludacris’s cinematic career peaked ever since he played the recurring character Tej in the Fast and Furious movies. But even before that, he had a supporting role in the hip-hop drama Hustle & Flow. Starring Terrence Howard as an aspiring rapper who is trying his best to stray away from a life of crime, the movie also features Ludacris playing a fictional rapper called Skinny Black.
’80s classics like Gremlins, Back To The Future, Stand By Me, and Footloose are just some of the many mainstream titles that Frances Lee McCain has appeared in.
The actress, who plays Mr. Cross’ equally villainous wife Mrs. Cross in End of the Road, is popular for playing Kevin Bacon’s mother Ethel in the iconic musical drama Footloose. Attaining cult-like status for Bacon’s lead performance and the uses of pop songs, Footloose deals with a Chicago native moving to a small town. When the town’s local minister inflicts a ban on dancing, the protagonist arms himself with his cassette player and dances his way to some iconic Kenny Loggins and Deniece Williams tracks.
Ruck, a character with suspicious intentions in the action thriller, is played by Jesse Luken who was seen in the early 2010s for the recurring role of Jimmy Tolan in Justified.
The action drama series stars Timothy Olyphant in one of his most iconic roles as a U.S. Marshal who is transferred back to his poor, crime-ridden hometown in Kentucky. As he goes against all sorts of criminal elements, the protagonist must come to terms with his legal powers and inner demons. Luken’s character Jimmy is an extortionist hired by the notorious Crowder family to establish their criminal empire in the area.
Brenda’s elder child is played by Mychala Lee in End of the Road. A newcomer to the scene, one of her major screen credits so far includes the Apple TV+ original series Truth Be Told.
The series stars Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer as a true crime podcaster who is called on to investigate an ongoing murder case, blurring the lines between her theories and the actual crime. She is joined by equally popular co-stars such as Aaron Paul and Kate Hudson. Lee’s character Trini was introduced in the sophomore season, but her arc has potential to be fleshed out more in the upcoming third season.
The youngest of Queen Latifah’s children in End of the Road is another fresh face, Shaun Dixon.
While Dixon’s filmography is limited as of now, the child actor has had his name attached to some critically-acclaimed productions such as a bit role in one of the sketches in A Black Lady Sketch Show. Created by Robin Thede with the showrunner starring alongside some leading comediennes such as Ashley Nicole Black, Quinta Brunson, Issa Rae and many more, the show uses satire, mimicry, and observational humor to convey various things ranging from toxic masculinity to marriages to prison security and so on.
Tabatha Shaun, the actress who plays Shelby in End of the Road is also known for her appearance in Adam Wingard’s acclaimed thriller The Guest.
A subversive take on home invasion thriller movies, The Guest features Dan Stevens as a man who visits a family claiming to have served in Afghanistan with their son. When a series of murders follow, the mysterious guest seems to have a connection. Shaun appears as Kristen, a woman saved by Steven’s ominous antihero. The two go on to have an ill-fated relationship that doesn’t end well for one of them.
Credited as “Driver Dude” in End of the Road, this isn’t Micah McNeill’s first Netflix credit. He had a humorously memorable recurring role in the short-lived Netflix post-apocalyptic comedy series Daybreak.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, the show is set in a dystopian world that is devoid of adults. Now, it is up to the teenagers and their several gangs to make sense of what is left. McNeill plays Jerry, a leader of the “Golf Club”, one of the several factions in the series, who goes against the protagonist and later the “Nerds.”
A UFC alumnus and a stuntman, Keith Jardine has had “tough guy roles” in several movies and shows. His character Nash in End of the Road is no exception.
His first Netflix role was in the period Western miniseries Godless in which he plays Dwyer Howe, a knife-wielding henchman of Frank Griffin’s, the outlaw antagonist played by Jeff Bridges. The show’s premise includes Griffin wreaking havoc in a town that is mostly inhabited by widows who arm themselves for an all-out war.
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