Director Jeymes Samuel talks upcoming film ‘The Book of Clarence,’ reuniting with LaKeith Stanfield

'The Book of Clarence' take place in the biblical era, making space for Black characters in an often-white film genre

LaKeith Stanfield and director Jeymes Samuel are reuniting for a brand new film. The Book of Clarence is Samuel’s follow-up to the hit Netflix film The Harder They Fall.

As theGrio previously reported, The Harder They Fall was one of the biggest films of 2021, giving audiences a refreshing and gripping Western with an all-Black cast. Regina King, Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Stanfield, and more starred in the film, which also marked Samuel’s feature directorial debut.

In a recent interview with Deadline, Samuel opened up about his next project set in the biblical era.

4th Annual Celebration Of Black Cinema And Television Presented By The Critics Choice Association
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 06: The Bullitts attends the 4th Annual Celebration of Black Cinema and Television presented by The Critics Choice Association at Fairmont Century Plaza on December 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images,)

“So, my next movie is The Book of Clarence,” Samuel told the outlet. “And LaKeith Stanfield will play Clarence. And I’m taking it all the way back to the Bible era. You remember those biblical epics, whether they were about the Bible or just taking place around it, from The Ten Commandments to The Greatest Story Ever ToldSamson and Delilah and Ben-Hur, which runs alongside all that stuff in the Bible? As will be The Book of Clarence, a full fun-filled extravaganza.”

Samuel said the project, set in 29 AD., is already written and “ready to go.”

Like his work in The Harder They Fall, Samuel will focus on Black characters in these spaces often occupied by whiteness.

“Where did Mary Magdalene get her hair done,” he shared when discussing questions he’s always had about the era. “They didn’t have any hair salons since the Cleopatra days. What currency did they spend? All that stuff the Bible doesn’t speak of fascinates me about the era. The Bible just gives you bricks. But the mortar you’re meant to fill in yourself.”

Premiere Of The 3rd Season Of FX's "Atlanta" - Red Carpet
LaKeith Stanfield attends the premiere of the 3rd season of FX’s “Atlanta” at Hollywood Forever on March 24, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images)

“I want to tell the tales that we’ve never had before,” he added. “We’ve never had Black people in the Bible days of cinema. There’s not even a template for us to go, ‘Well, like that movie?’ We’d seen a Black cowboy before. We’ve never seen… Even when Andrew Lloyd Webber made something as nuanced as Jesus Christ Superstar, there’s no Black people in it, except Judas. Judas was the Black guy.”

While the project is written, there is still a question mark over where it will be produced, despite Samuel’s relationship with Netflix. He told the outlet, “We’re deciding now where it will be made, talking to studios. I have a relationship with Netflix. That’s a big thing, but I do need this film to have a viable theatrical component as well.”

Check out the full interview on Deadline.

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