When We Rise star Jonathan Majors and newcomer Jimmie Fails are set to star in The Last Black Man in San Francisco, coming from A24 and Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B.
The film will be directed by Joe Talbot, who also co-wrote the script with Rob Richert, and is based on a short he and Fails made in 2017. The film is based on events from Fails’ life.
The genesis for The Last Black Man in San Francisco comes from Fails’ desire to retain his family home, which was built by his grandfather, against the backdrop of a rapidly-gentrifying San Francisco. Fails and his oddball best friend Prentice, who both live in the city’s last black neighborhood, go on a search for a sense of belonging in a changing city that seems to no longer understand them.
“Jimmie spent his childhood in just about every corner of the city of San Francisco, from projects in Alemany to halfway houses in the Tenderloin, with the dream of getting back his family home–one that had been in his family since the 1950s,” states the film’s site. The film “encapsulates not only what was happening to many San Franciscans, but a generation of young people across the country.”
Majors, who can be seen in the upcoming films White Boy Rick, Captive State, and as a co-lead in the HBO series Lovecraft Country, has been tapped to play Prentice. Rounding out the cast is Tichina Arnold, Mike Epps, Rob Morgan, Finn Wittrock and Thora Birch. Along with Plan B as producers, Khaliah Neal will also produce. Neal also produced American Paradise, a short film by Talbot telling the true story of a white man who gets away with robbing a bank by wearing a hyper-realistic mask of a black man’s face. Instead of getting arrested, an innocent black man gets pinned with the crime. Fails makes an appearance in this film, one of his few acting credits. The short premiered at Sundance in 2017.
The journey for the film has been long; in 2014, Talbot released a concept trailer outlining the vision for the film.
In 2015, the film launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to start production. In 2016, it was picked up by the San Francisco Film Society as one of the winners of the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant winners.