A TV project that highlights the real history behind The Negro Motorist Green Book was initially put on the shelf because of Peter Farrelly’s film Green Book. However, the team behind that pilot are now bringing it back out.
The Hollywood Reporter states that filmmaker Chandus Jackson and Stan & Deliver Films’ Stan Brooks have developed a TV series based on The Negro Motorist Green Book. Unlike the film Green Book, this TV series would focus on the development of the actual Green Books by Victor H. Green and how they helped Black motorists travel safely through America, especially its highly segregated areas during Jim Crow. Jackson is writing the show’s pilot.
Jackson said to The Hollywood Reporter that the idea for the pilot came from an exhibit at the Los Angeles Library. The exhibit inspired his one-act play about an interracial couple traveling throughout the south with the use of a Green Book. The play became the entryway for a TV project with Brooks. The series, said Jackson, will “focus on these true stories of people who navigated the highways and byways.”
The series was shelved once news of the film’s release was imminent. “It was their title that we felt derailed us,” Brooks said to The Hollywood Reporter, adding that they thought that since the title of the film was Green Book, it would “spend much more time explaining the nature and the purpose of The Negro Motorist Green Book, as our series does.”
“Now that we’ve seen the film, and realized that the movie has virtually nothing to do with it, we plan on taking [the pitch] out this year,” he said.
“I was disappointed that the story didn’t deeper into why, during this time period, [The Green Book] was a necessity,” he said, adding that their pilot “is also a story a story about empowerment–it was empowering for a lot of African-Americans to have their own automobiles at this time as the Black middle class was beginning to grow.”
“There’s a story here to be told that gives a sense of really what this book is about and what it meant for people,” he said.
Green Book has faced one controversy after another since its late 2018 release. From co-star Viggo Mortensen saying the N-word at a press conference and defending the film’s focus on whiteness to Mahershala Ali apologizing to the Shirley family for misrepresenting Dr. Don Shirley, to writer/producer Nick Vallelonga coming under fire for anti-Muslim sentiments, this film has hit almost every box of the controversy bingo card. Even still, it is an awards show darling, with Ali and the film already racking up awards at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards.