Kenya Barris to make feature directorial debut in Netflix comedy film starring Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill and Kenya Barris to co-write and co-produce the project
Kenya Barris is set to make his debut as a feature-length film director.
As part of the production, the writer/producer has recruited actor Jonah Hill to star in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Barris, best known as creator and writer of the ABC sitcom Black-ish, will be writing the film with Hill as well. In addition, both Barris and Hill will be producing the comedy film together, alongside Kevin Misher, with their respective production companies, Khalabo Ink Society, Strong Baby and Misher Films.
While Hill brings his two-time Academy Award-nominated acting prowess to the project, his credits as a film writer include his own directorial debut, the critically-acclaimed 2018 film Mid90s.
The title of the Netflix project has yet to be disclosed, but the plot is rumored to center around social themes akin to those present in the 1967 comedy/drama Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. The film, which starred Sidney Portier, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, dealt with an interracial couple’s engagement and the racial implications that followed, via the scope of the parents.
Barris is no stranger to dealing with the cultural matters of interracial relationships. Black-ish deals with the family of a Black husband, played by Anthony Anderson, and his half-Black, half-white wife, played by Tracey Ellis Ross. Ross’ character was also the subject of the spinoff, Mixed-ish, which flashed back to the younger days of her Black mother and white father.
Barris created and starred in the comedy series #BlackAF, also on Netflix, in which he played a fictionalized version of himself, married to a wife of Caucasian descent, played by Rashida Jones.
While garnering three Emmy nominations for Black-ish, Barris has previously written for feature films as well, included Coming 2 America, staring Eddie Murphy, and a remake of Cheaper By The Dozen, which is currently still in production.
Although this Netflix film will mark Barris’ feature directorial debut, he does have directing experience, via a few episodes of Black-ish. Last October, Deadline reported that Barris was to direct a Richard Pryor biopic, which he is also slated to write and co-produce with Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor. Barris was selected after MGM studios won the rights to do Pryor’s life story in a hotly contested auction.
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