At last, Monster will see the light of day. The film, which premiered at Sundance in 2018, has been acquired by Netflix. This comes after an extended festival run, a name change (All Rise) and a prior acquisition announcement by Entertainment Studios. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of the Netflix acquisition.
The stacked cast is led by Kelvin Harrison Jr., before his star-making turns in Waves and Luce. It also features Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright, a pre-When They See Us Jharrel Jerome, a pre-BlacKkKlansman John David Washington, Jennifer Ehle, Tim Blake Nelson, Nas and A$AP Rocky.
Directed and written by acclaimed music video director Anthony Mandler, the screenplay is from Radha Blank, Colen C. Wiley and Janece Shaffer. It tells the story of Steve Harmon (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) a seventeen-year-old honor student whose world comes crashing down around him when he is charged with felony murder. The film follows his dramatic journey from a smart, likable film student from Harlem attending an elite high school through a complex legal battle that could leave him spending the rest of his life in prison.
Harrison, an in-demand star on the indie and festival circuit, told Shadow And Act back in 2018 that Steve was one of the hardest characters he’s had to play. “Steve in Monster is probably the hardest to play, because I was learning so much about myself growing up,” he said.“It’s hard to look back on your life at 17 and how you may have been. Steve comes from this privileged home and has a lot of opportunity. Then things happened, and he thought he was an anomaly in a world where black boys are incarcerated or killed because of the way they look. The hardest part is just really digging deep in yourself and coming into your own realities and then separating from the character so you can tell their stories truthfully.”
BRON Studios, ToniK Productions and Get Lifted Film Co. are the movies’ producers, in association with Charlevoix, Red Crown and Creative Wealth Media. Tonya Lewis Lee, Nikki Silver, Aaron L. Gilbert, Mike Jackson, and Edward Tyler Nahem produced the film.
John Legend, Ty Stiklorius, Dan Crown, Yoni Liebling, Wright and Jones are executive producers, alongside Brenda Gilbert, Steven Thibault, Brad Feinstein, Joseph F. Ingrassia, Ali Jazayeri, David Gendron, Linnea Roberts, Jason Cloth, and Richard McConnell.
“We at ToniK are thrilled to have brought Walter Dean Myers’ National Book Award and Michael L. Printz award-winning work to screen and are so pleased to partner once again with Netflix to showcase this important story to the world,” said Lee.
“Netflix has time and time again stood behind films with a strong social message,” said Mandler. “Helping to curate an audience and create content that is both entertaining as well as thought-provoking. I’ve always seen my film as a medium of and for change. I couldn’t think of a better platform for Monster.”
A release date hasn’t been set yet.