Jussie Smollett is stepping into the director's chair. The former Empire actor will make his feature directorial debut with the film adaptation of James Earl Hardy's 1994 book, B-Boy Blues. The film's production began Oct. 17 in New York City.
The film will follow the journey of two Black men, one who makes a career as a journalist (similar to Hardy's career as a music journalist) and the other who works as a bike messenger. In 1995, the book became a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best LGBT/Small Press Title. The book is described as a title that “continues to be a staple within the Black LGBTQ/Same Gender Loving community, spawning a series that has now sold millions worldwide."
We have exclusive words from Smollett on the film that you'll only read on Shadow and Act. He told us, “Like so many same-gender-loving, black men... B-Boy Blues was and continues to be a story that hits home for me in ways that not many people truly understand. With that said... it’s truly a universal story about Black on black love. I couldn’t be more psyched to have this project be my feature film directorial debut. To have someone as iconic as James Earl Hardy, trust me, to bring his vision to life is an honor I don’t take lightly. And to produce/finance it with the launch of my company, SuperMassive, which will invest in projects by LGBTQ+, women and filmmakers of color is what my life’s work has been for. I hope I do it justice, but with the cast and crew we’ve assembled... it’s looking damn Jood."
Along with directing, Smollett will also produce the film through SuperMassive Movies, the newest arm of his Story Worthy Pictures production company. SuperMassive has raised seven figures in collaboration with Tom Wilson, Cleveland, OH-based radio broadcast investor. The label's funding will "help finance independent micro-budgeted projects from LGBTQ+, women and filmmakers of color."
Hardy will also produce as well as SuperMassive Movies investor Tom Wilson. Other producers include Madia Hill Scott, Frank Gatson and Sampson McCormick.
Trey Mangum also contributed to this report.
Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images