John Singleton’s newest project tackles police brutality – but in an unexpected way. Produced for BET, Rebel will focus on a Black female cop who has a complicated relationship with her white partner in the department after he shoots and kills her brother.
Deadline reports stage actress Danielle Moné Truitt – who has play credits in A Raisin in the Sun, Aida and previously had a role in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog – will play the title character named Rebecca “Rebel” Knight. Mykelti Williamson, who famously played “Bubba” in Forrest Gump, stars as Rebel’s father Rene. He blames his daughter for her brother’s death. Cliff “Method Man” Smith is TJ, Rebel’s ex who is still passionate about her though he has moved on. Brandon Quinn plays Rebel’s partner. The actor currently stars on Freeform’s The Fosters.
Singleton will not only direct the two-hour pilot but he also serves as executive producer and co-writer. Production is slated to start this week in Los Angeles. The television project adds to Singleton’s small-screen work following a directorial stint on FX’s The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
The iconic film and TV director has never shied away from telling stories specifically targeting the Black community. Atlanta Black Star reports he spoke about the need for other Black filmmakers to create movies about African-American culture in 2014.
“They ain’t letting the Black people tell the stories,” Singleton told students at Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television in Los Angeles. “They want Black people to be what they want them to be as opposed to what they are. The Black films now – so-called Black films now – they’re great, but they’re just product. They’re not moving the bar forward creatively.”
The filmmaker explained the reason 1991’s Boyz in the Hood was so popular is because he created it specifically for the Black audience – something he’ll do once again with Rebel.