Actor Will Smith and rapper-mogul Jay Z are teaming up to bring Emmett Till’s brutally tragic story to cable television. The pair just nabbed a writer for the new untitled miniseries on HBO.
According to Shadow and Act, the producing team includes Smith’s Overbook Entertainment members and individuals at Jay’s Roc Nation. They tapped Steven Caple Jr. – whose film, The Land, debuted at Sundance Film Festival this year – to write the series.
The scripted show is currently in development. It is described as “an immersive and in-depth exploration of the Emmett Till story.”
Deadline reported the script is based on Devery Anderson’s 2015 book, “Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked The World And Propelled The Civil Rights Movement.”
In August 1955, 14-year-old Till left Chicago, Illinois to visit his aunt, uncle and cousins in small town Money, Mississippi. The teen allegedly flirted with a white woman. Then, two white men abducted him from his uncle’s home. Days later, Till’s body was found mutilated.
His mother Mamie Till famously held an open-casket funeral to expose the ugliness of the racist act. The photos were published in Jet magazine and The Chicago Defender.
The action set off a chain of civil rights actions, including the Martin Luther King, Jr.-led March on Washington exactly 8 years later on Aug. 28, 1963.
Jay and Smith’s project is the latest in a line of other Hollywood projects focusing on Till’s story.
Others include the full-length film, The Face of Emmett Till and an unnamed film based on a book written by Mamie Till.
The Face of Emmett Till is a dramatization derived from the play of the same name, which was also written by the late Mamie and co-writer David Barr III.
The latter flick is based on Mamie’s book,“Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America.” It was initially announced last year. Late film critic Roger Ebert’s wife is the producer, Atlanta Black Star reported.