Written by Suzan-Lori Parks and To Be Directed by Rashid Johnson
A24 announced today that it has acquired worldwide rights to Native Son, a new adaptation of the groundbreaking Richard Wright novel written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and to be directed by celebrated conceptual artist Rashid Johnson. Johnson began his career as a photographer and has since worked across media to explore ideas about African American identity. His art has been recognized and showcased around the world, taking a major touring exhibition across the US as well as recent solo exhibitions at reputable museums including Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, High Line Art in New York, and South London Gallery. In 2016, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum, the first artist to be given the honor in nearly forty years. This will be the first feature film directed by Johnson.
“A24 is active with some of the best filmmakers and films today,” said Johnson. “We’re excited to have a partner that shares our enthusiasm for this amazing and deeply complicated material. We look forward to working with them to bring Richard Wright’s powerful story to life.”
The movie takes place in present day Chicago (Johnson’s hometown), with Ashton Sanders in final negotiations to take on the iconic role of Bigger Thomas.? The remaining cast in negotiations to join the film features Margaret Qualley (Novitiate, The Nice Guys), Nick Robinson (Love, Simon, Jurassic World), KiKi Layne (Barry Jenkins’ upcoming If Beale Street Could Talk) and Bill Camp (The Night Of), with other roles filling out shortly?. Award-winning cinematographer Matthew Libatique (Black Swan, Straight Outta Compton) will be the director of photography.
The film was developed and will be produced by Bow and Arrow Entertainment’s Matthew Pernicaro and Michael Sherman, coming off of Skate Kitchen and Madeline’s Madeline, which both just premiered at Sundance. UTA Independent Film Group negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.
Rashid Johnson is represented by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. Suzan-Lori Parks is represented by UTA and Schreck Rose & Dapello. Bow and Arrow is represented by Levin Law Corp.