Emmett Till Film In Development From 'Clemency' Director Chinonye Chukwu

August 27 2020

Clemency director Chinonye Chukwu has been attached to a feature film based on the story of Emmett Till. The news was announced Thursday, just before the 65th anniversary of Till's 1955 lynching.

The film will be based on Till's tragic death, as well as the story of his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, whose pursuit of justice and insistence of an open casket funeral became a key moment in history and led to the civil rights movement.   

According to a statement received by Shadow and Act, "The film is based on the extensive research of award-winning documentarian Keith Beauchamp and his relationship with Mamie Till Mobley and Emmett Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright who was an eyewitness to the kidnapping of Till and who served as a consultant to the project before his death in 2017.  For more than 27 years, Beauchamp has investigated the kidnapping, torture and murder of Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman.  His efforts succeeded in getting the United States Department of Justice to reopen the case in 2004."

Beauchamp’s research is the basis for the film's screenplay, which he wrote with Michael J P Reilly and Chukwu.

“I am deeply honored to be telling this story and working with such an incredible producing team,” says Chinonye Chukwu.  “Amidst the pain and brutality that is inherent to Mamie and Emmett’s story, I intend to delve deeply into their humanities, the love and joy they shared, and the activist consciousness that grows within Mamie as she seeks justice for her son.”

“Today the return of open racism reminds us that the real danger is in NOT telling Emmett Till’s story.  Chinonye Chukwu taking the helm as our director is an opportunity for us to step forward artfully and without fear to tell the truth.  We could not be in better hands,” adds Whoopi Goldberg.

“I’m truly excited that we are teaming up with Chinonye to tell this powerful story. With Emmett Till’s name being spoken today among Black Lives Matter chants, it is more important than ever to understand why this senseless murder took place and the selfless actions taken by my dear friend Mrs. Mamie Till Mobley that led to the mobilization of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement,” explains Keith Beauchamp.  This isn’t a movie, it’s a movement.” 

The film is set to go into production in 2021. With Clemency, starring Alfre Woodard and Aldis Hodge, Chukwu became the first Black woman to receive the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her film “Clemency”.

 

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Photo: Getty

by Trey Mangum on August 27 2020

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