Dwayne “The Rock ” Johnson is set to star in and produce John Henry and the Statesman alongside Jumanji director Jake Kasdan for Netflix.
It was sought after by many studios before landing at Netflix as Johnson’s first project there.
The project will see Johnson portray John Henry, a famed figure from the world of African American folklore and mythology who was a steel driver. As Henry, Johnson will lead an ensemble cast of characters, featuring some of the most prominent figures in American and international folklore. Johnson will produce the picture alongside Jake Kasdan, Seven Bucks Productions’ Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia.
“Netflix is the perfect partner and platform for us to continue entertaining our global audience in a disruptive way. These diverse characters speak to a legacy of storytelling that is more relevant than ever and span across a worldwide audience regardless of age, gender, race, or geography,” said Johnson in a statement.
The announcement of a picture centering around a known figure in African American folklore comes on the heels of a much-talked-about Michael B. Jordan’s profile in Vanity Fair magazine in which he stated, “We don’t have any mythology, Black mythology, or folklore…Creating our own mythology is very important because … You help people dream.”
Jordan’s remarks further spearheaded a broader debate on the prominence of Black and African-American folklore in pop culture and its stagnant existence on film and television, although there have been films to tackle the subject. No release date has been announced for John Henry and the Statesmen.