Queen, The

(Status:  Optioned as of 1/25/17)

Lee Daniels is re-teaming with Pam Oas Williams to develop The Queen, a feature based on the 2013 article from Slate’s executive editor Josh Levin titled The Welfare Queen.  Daniels, who previously worked with Williams on The Butler, will produce through his Lee Daniels Entertainment alongside Pam Williams Productions.

Levin’s piece tells the true story of Linda Taylor, the original “welfare queen,” famously described by Ronald Reagan as the Cadillac-driving “woman in Chicago” who got rich by manipulating the public aid system. Taylor, Levin reveals, was far more complicated and compelling than a simple thief; she was a sort of Talented Mr. Ripley–if Ripley were a real-life femme fatale in 1970s Chicago.

The story describes the way that one of the most gifted criminals in modern times transformed the way we think about race and poverty, and how the crime that made her infamous quite literally allowed her to get away with murder.  Source:  The Tracking Board.

Madam C. J. Walker Biopic

(Status:  Optioned 11/11/16)

It was announced in November 2016 that a C. J. Walker biography, On Her Own Ground, is in the works at Zero Gravity Management as a limited series with Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer set to produce and star. The project will be written by Nicole Asher and directed by Kasi Lemmons.

The series will be based on the biography written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, which was published by Scribner in 2002 where it went on to become a bestseller.

On 8/15/17, Variety reported that NBA superstar LeBron James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is adding the project as the first scripted drama to its growing slate. Octavia Spencer is attached to star in the limited series about entrepreneur and social activist Madam C.J. Walker, with James exec producing along with his company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter.  Sources tell Variety that Netflix is interested in the series and is the likely destination.  A’Leila Bundles will serve as consultant on the series.

Walker, the daughter of slaves, was orphaned at age seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. She spent two decades laboring as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a week. However, everything changed following Walker’s discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women. By the time she died in 1919, she had built a beauty empire from the ground up, and was reportedly the first female self-made millionaire in America and became one of the wealthiest black women in the country.  Source(s):  Tracking Boards; Variety.  Photo Source:  Wikipedia.

Book of Luke, The

(Script as of 6/12/17)

Lionsgate is working on 2 Live Crew biopic, The Book Of Luke, based on leader Luther Campbell’s autobiography.  The project is set up with Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey as producers with Mike Epps and Industry Entertainment executive producing.  The script is being written, based on  Campbell’s Book Of Luke: My Fight For Truth, Justice And Liberty City.

Campbell, who was born in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood, joined the rap group 2 Live Crew in the 1980s. The group saw its greatest success with their 1989 album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be,” which was ruled obscene by a federal judge before a federal appeals court overturned that ruling.  Campbell became known as “The King of Dirty Rap.” He was sued by Acuff-Rose over a parody version of the Roy Orbison song “Oh Pretty Woman” for copyright infringement but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Campbell’s favor in 1994, finding that the song’s use of sampling of music for a parody represented fair use.

According to Eurweb, the film is being described as Straight Outta Compton meets The People vs. Larry Flynt.  It follows the provocative group’s rise and envelope-pushing material that catapulted Campbell from poverty in Miami’s Liberty City to becoming a millionaire and a galvanizing symbol of free speech.  Campbell will be played by RJ Cyler, who earned critical acclaim as Earl in the 2015 film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and followed as the Blue Ranger in Lionsgate’s Power Rangers.  The Luther Campell role marks a full circle moment for Cyler, whose parents reportedly met each other at a 2 Live Crew concert.  Source:  Variety; Eurweb.  Photo Source:  Variety.

The Best of Enemies

Release Date:  4/5/19; In Theaters
Genre:  Drama/Biography
Rating:  PG-13
Director:  Robin Bissell
Studio(s):   Astute Films, Material Pictures, STXfilms
Running Time: Unknown
Cast:  Taraji P. Henson (Ann Atwater), Sam Rockwell (C. P. Ellis), Babou Ceesay (Bill Riddick), Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher, Jr., Nick Searcy, Sope Aluko (Henrietta Kaye).
Story:   Based on a true story, The Best of Enemies centers on the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater (Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis (Rockwell), a local Ku Klux Klan leader who reluctantly co-chaired a community summit, battling over the desegregation of schools in Durham, North Carolina during the racially-charged summer of 1971. The incredible events that unfolded would change Durham and the lives of Atwater and Ellis forever.  Inspired by the book by Oshay Gray Davidson.  Source:  Official site, thebestofenemies.movies.