Netflix developing Bayard Rustin biopic with director George C. Wolfe

'Rustin' is set to be overseen by the production house of popular former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama.

George C. Wolfe, director of the critically acclaimed Netflix film, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is set to helm “Rustin,” Netflix’s new Bayard Rustin biopic.

The film will follow the life of Rustin, the prominent gay Black civil rights activist, as he overcomes the obstacles of American life in the early 1960s and will tell the story of how Rustin organized the now-iconic March on Washington in 1963.

In this July 1964 photo, gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (center) talks to a reporter during the Harlem Riots in Manhattan. Acclaimed director George C. Wolfe is set to direct Netflix’s new biopic, for the Obamas’ Higher Ground and Netflix. (Photo by Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

“Rustin” is set to be produced by Higher Ground Productions, the production house of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama, and will be written and produced by Dustin Lance Black. Black wrote the 2008 hit “Milk” and won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009 for its excellence.

Rustin was posthumously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, awarded the medal by Obama for his civil rights activism during the 1960s. Rustin was an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and an organizer and participant in the first Freedom Rides.

Read More: Michelle Obama set to appear in Netflix food show ‘Waffles + Mochi’

Higher Ground, which was founded in 2018, and Netflix, who have been in partnership for years, announced multiple new projects earlier this month.

“We created Higher Ground to tell great stories,” said the Obamas in a press release. “This group of projects builds upon that goal and the incredible path forged by films like ‘Crip Camp,’ ‘Becoming’ and the Oscar-winning ‘American Factory.'”

“From science fiction to the beauty of our natural world to the relationships that define us,” they continued, “Higher Ground continues to strive for fresh perspectives, compelling characters and a healthy dose of inspiration. We couldn’t be more proud to team up with the brilliant artists behind each of these stories. Each of them has something important to say.” 

Read More: Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions to release new Netflix projects

Fans took to Twitter to express excitement for the project. One user said, Erik Anderson, said: “Been waiting for a Bayard Rustin biopic forever and George C. Wolfe and the Obamas behind it makes me super excited for it.”

“This is actually cool. B. Rustin was a great economic populist and organizer,” said another Twitter user.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast, “Dear Culture?” Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!