Legendary activist-turned-philosophy professor, Angela Davis is set to have a feature film created to illustrate her life. This Is Us writer Kay Oyegun will pen the script and Forest Whitaker was announced as executive producer. Nina Yang Bongiovi, producer of Dope and Fruitvale Station, Sidra Smith and Codeblack CEO Jeff Clanagan are also producing.
Angela Davis herself will be involved in the film’s making, serving as an executive producer along with her niece Eisa Davis, who is also penning the script.
While no word has been released as of yet about casting for the film, there is sure to be a list of actresses clamoring for the leading role.
Here are a few picks for who I think could do Angela’s role justice.
1. Halle Berry
She has been adamant for years about wanting to play Angela Davis at some point in her career. There’s no question that she has the acting chops to pull it off but, it’d definitely be interesting watching how she would tap into portraying this role.
2. Thandie Newton
Thandie is drawn to characters that challenge her as an actress and performer. We’ve seen her make lasting impressions in For Colored Girls and One Half of a Yellow Sun, so there’s no telling what one could expect to see if she were to portray a woman as prolific as Angela Davis.
3. Tessa Thompson
Tessa makes a statement on screen by portraying roles that reveal the vastness of black identity and black resistance. After seeing her as Diane Nash in the Ava Duvernay film, Selma, it would be dope to watch her tackle the other end of the Civil Rights spectrum as Davis.
4. Yaya DaCosta
Yaya has made a name for herself as a talented actress that pushes beyond her own boundaries for the greater good of the character. While I already know how bomb she looks in a fro, I think that if slated to play the political activist icon, her performance would be one that could take her career to new levels.
5. Jurnee Smollett-Bell
She has been on screens practically her entire life and has recently gained massive props for her standout performance as Rosalee in the WGN series, Underground. Smollett-Bell has a way of captivating audiences with nearly every role she’s played by making non-fictional roles feel like reality. That sense of realness would be pivotal to portraying Angela Davis and resonate with audiences long after the credits roll.
6. Rosario Dawson
She has made headlines for years due to her political stance and no-nonsense tactics when it comes to using her First Amendment rights. Leaning on those experiences, she could definitely add some dimension to portraying Angela Davis and channel some of her frustrations into the part.
7. Grace Gealey
Grace would be my wildcard pick, if offered the opportunity to play Davis. Audiences have gotten to know her as the classy and witty, Anika Calhoun on Empire, but beyond that, her educational background and previous experience as a stage actress leads me to believe that there is much more to see from Gealey.
8. Cree Summer
This actress is well-known for being the voice of many of our favorite childhood characters and as the eclectic, radical Freddie Brooks from A Different World. I know that Summer has the skills and experience to portray practically anyone but, seeing her step into a role of this magnitude would be refreshing to watch and entice viewers across generations.
9. Eisa Davis
She would without a doubt have the most connection to this role, if she was cast to portray her own aunt on the big screen. “Angela’s Mixtape,” the 2009 autobiographical show produced and starring Eisa, could also add to the cinematic performance she could use to enhance in this portrayal.
10. Amandla Stenberg
She is everything, but we already knew this. Watching her channel her own values and ideas that parallel that of a young Angela Davis, on screen, would be incredible to see.
11. Sophie Okonedo
Sophie is an accomplished, award-winning British actress who no doubt has the skills to step into this role. Her ability to take on any part and bring characters to life has made her one of the most talented artists in the field.
Whoever is in charge of casting this cinematic feature had better be thorough in their selections. The work and continued legacy of Angela Davis’s work still ripples through the movements we live through today. Hopefully, the actress and all other cast members who will be a part of this film will take that into consideration and produce a film that not only entertains, but educates more than anything else.
Who would you cast to play Angela Davis in this upcoming film? Share your opinions in the comments.
This post was originally published on our sister site, Blavity, by Kiara Collins.