From playing a genie in the film “Aladdin” to being a New York crime boss.
The project will be executive produced by Smith, as well as his partner James Lassiter under their company Overbrook Entertainment. It will also be written by Peter Landesman, who wrote the 2015 film “Concussion,” where Smith played famed pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu.
The upcoming Netflix film will tell the true-life story of Barnes starting an organization called The Council in the 1970s, which was a group of seven black men who supposedly wanted to fund an all-black city-state through new ways of drug dealing.
Barnes and The Council were at the top of Harlem’s heroin industry at that time, and they received their product directly from the Luchese mafia family. In June 1977, The New York Times Magazine put Barnes on a now-famous cover, where they called him “Mr. Untouchable.”
“This is Nicky Barnes,” it also read. “The police say he may be Harlem’s biggest drug dealer, but can they prove it?”
Barnes was arrested in 1978 and received a life sentence after being convicted, but he was released into the Witness Protection Program in 1998. That’s because he became a government informant and helped to take down The Council before he passed away of cancer in 2012.
Barnes was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2007 film “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington, who portrayed Barnes’ rival Frank Lucas, another Harlem crime boss who worked with the Italian-American mafia.
A release date for “The Council” hasn’t been revealed at this time.