In an interview with Deadline, Samuel revealed that his follow-up will be a Biblical-set film called The Book of Clarence. The film’s name, Samuel said, is an Easter egg from a scene in The Harder They Fall, when Jim Beckworth (RJ Cyler) is heckling Cherokee Bull (LaKeith Stanfield) about whether he’s the fastest gun in the West, leading Bill Pickett (Edi Gathegi) to call Jim out.
“‘Like you say in The Book of Clarence, ‘Can’t no man outspeed me,’” Samuel said, quoting Jim. “And Bill Pickett says, “Outspeed ain’t a word and Clarence ain’t a book. I’m kinda hoping Cherokee Bill put a bullet in that ass just to shut him up.”
“So, my next movie is The Book of Clarence. And LaKeith Stanfield will play Clarence,” he continued. “And I’m taking it all the way back to the Bible era. You remember those biblical epics, whether they were about the Bible or just taking place around it, from The Ten Commandments to The Greatest Story Ever Told, Samson and Delilah and Ben-Hur, which runs alongside all that stuff in the Bible? As will be The Book of Clarence, a full fun-filled extravaganza. It’s written and ready to go, and set in 29 AD.”
Samuel said he’s “excited” to create the film because, as he described, Biblical characters were the original superheroes. He also said that small things about the Biblical stories interested him as a kid, such as where Jesus might have gotten his sandals, or how Mary Magdalene got her hair done. He also wants to portray Blackness in a way not usually seen in film, like what he did with The Harder They Fall.
“I want to tell the tales that we’ve never had before. We’ve never had Black people in the Bible days of cinema. There’s not even a template for us to go, ‘Well, like that movie?”’” He said. “Even when Andrew Lloyd Webber made something as nuanced as Jesus Christ Superstar, there’s no Black people in it, except Judas. Judas was the Black guy. ‘I’m going to betray you, Jesus.’ What the hell? That’s what you’re giving us? That’s the Black guy?”
“You saw what I did with the Western. I want to give people something to talk about,” he continued. “Imagine when they unleash Jesus on me. I’m going to give us something we’ve never seen before. But it’s going to be so much fun.”
Samuel is currently in talks with studios, including Netflix, with whom he has a prior relationship via The Harder They Fall.