Nearly a year and a half after it first premiered at Sundance, the film adaptation of The Walter Dean Myers novel, Monster, has finally been acquired, and it has a new name!
Now titled All Rise, Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures has acquired the worldwide rights to the film from BRON Studios. A U.S. release is planned for fall 2019.
The film, toplined by Kelvin Harrison Jr., also stars Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, Jennifer Ehle, A$AP Rocky, Lovie Simone, Jharrel Jerome, Nas, Tim Blake Nelson and John David Washington. Coincidentally, Harrison and Washington also starred together in Monsters & Men, which also premiered at Sundance 2018.
All Rise was directed and written by acclaimed music video director Anthony Mandler. The screenplay is from Radha Blank, Colen C. Wiley and Janece Shaffer. The official description reads: All Rise tells the story of Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) a seventeen-year-old honor student whose world comes crashing down around him when he is charged with felony murder. The film follows his dramatic journey from a smart, likable film student from Harlem attending an elite high school through a complex legal battle that could leave him spending the rest of his life in prison.
Harrison, an in-demand star on the indie and festival circuit, told Shadow And Act last year that Steve was one of the hardest characters he's had to play. “Steve in Monster is probably the hardest to play, because I was learning so much about myself growing up," he said.“It’s hard to look back on your life at 17 and how you may have been. Steve comes from this privileged home and has a lot of opportunity. Then things happened, and he thought he was an anomaly in a world where black boys are incarcerated or killed because of the way they look. The hardest part is just really digging deep in yourself and coming into your own realities and then separating from the character so you can tell their stories truthfully."
Tonya Lewis Lee, Nikki Silver, Aaron L. Gilbert, Mike Jackson and Edward Tyler Nahem are producers on the film. Exec producers are Jeffrey Wright, Nas, Dan Crown, Yoni Liebling, Jason Cloth, Richard McConnell, Linnea Roberts, Ty Stiklorius, Byron Allen, Carolyn Folks, and Jennifer Lucas. Companies credited as producers are BRON, Lee's Tonik Productions and Legend's Get Lifted Film Co.
“This is a very important and timely film which inspires and reminds us that together we have the power to make the necessary positive changes,” said Byron Allen, Founder/Chairman/CEO of Entertainment Studios. “This excellent story shows us how every day, African-Americans are positioned to fail in the schoolroom, the boardroom, and the courtroom long before we bleed to death in the streets.”
“It was an honor to tell Walter Dean Myers timely story and a privilege to bring Steve Harmon to the screen. Today, more than ever, it is vital to see Steve’s journey in a modern nuanced way that reflects the world in which we live," said Mandler.
“We are thrilled to partner with Byron Allen and Entertainment Studios to bring this dynamic story of the power of art, family and hope to audiences as we all work together towards defining and ensuring a just society for all,” said Lewis Lee.
John Legend, Mike Jackson, and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Co said: “We are honored to be a part of All Rise. It is an urgent and necessary film that gives a human face to the beautiful, complex young people who are too often treated like they're disposable by our criminal justice system. We believe this film will inspire and empower the audience to stand up for our common humanity.”