Shawn “Jay Z” Carter is gearing up to produce a docuseries and a feature film based on the life of slain teen Trayvon Martin and he knows the weight the project carries.
Teaming with Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company, Carter acquired rights to the books “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.” The latter book was written by Martin’s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, who were won over by Carter and Weinstein during a heated bidding war for rights on Oscar weekend in February.
“Jay Z looked at the parents and said: ‘I’m responsible if this is no good,'” Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter of how Carter convinced Martin’s parents. “‘I will do whatever it takes because they’re gonna hold me up on this. I’m not gonna let you down, and I’m not gonna let me down.’ End of conversation.”
At the time of the meeting with TWC and Carter, Variety reported Martin’s parents felt their son’s life and legacy being honored was of utmost importance. Martin was gunned down at 17 years old by former neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in a gated Florida community in 2012.
Weinstein said he and Carter had been living in New York for years and they had often discussed going into business together.
“We’ve known each other socially and we’ve always talked about doing something together,” Weinstein told THR. “I think we understand each other. People look at Jay Z and they don’t say, ‘That’s a well-read guy,’ and people look at me and think the same thing. But, we’re both extremely well-read. That’s the surprise of the whole thing, and it’s what makes it work. He’s one of the most brilliant men I know.”
The docuseries “Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” is scheduled to begin production later this year and will premiere on Paramount Network — to be rebranded from Spike— in 2018, according to Deadline. Details on the fictional biographical film haven’t been released.