Sundance Report: Film adaptation of Richard Wrights’ ‘Native Son’ gets acquired by HBO

PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 24: (L-R) Actors Ashton Sanders, KiKi Layne, Sanaa Lathan, Nick Robinson, and Director Rashid Johnson attend the “Native Son” Premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival at Eccles Center Theatre on January 25, 2019 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)


 

The film version of Richard Wright’s iconic Native Son, directed by Rashid Johnson, has been acquired by HBO before the movie’s Sundance debut.

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It’s been a long time coming. Back in 2017, Bow and Arrow Entertainment announced that it has acquired the rights to Native Son, which will be produced along with A24.

Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Park adapted the screenplay, and artist/photographer Rashid Johnson will make his directorial debut, Deadline announced Thursday.

Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, KiKi Layne, Elizabeth Marvel, David Alan Grier, Sanaa Lathan, and Bill Camp will also star in the film

Johnson says the legendary movie will be a “modern re-imagining” of Wright’s 1940 book. The movie will star Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) as Bigger “Big” Thomas, whose whole life changes after he starts working for a wealthy Chicago family.

Per Sundance:

Moving into their mansion, [Big] begins driving Dalton’s vehemently progressive daughter, Mary. But his involvement in an accidental death places Big on a collision course with the powerful social forces pitted against him. A thoroughly contemporary reworking of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel, Native Son asserts the story’s persistent relevance by bringing its interrogation of fear, violence, race, and circumstance into a critical modern context.

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The highly anticipated project will air on HBO later this year.

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