Taraji P Henson
In addition to the upcoming hit-woman drama "Proud Mary," Taraji P. Henson also booked the lead role in "Hunger Games" producer Robin Bissell's feature film directorial debut, which will based on the true story of the relationship between Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis.
To be titled "The Best of Enemies," the film, set in the 1960s, will detail the battle and eventual friendship between Ann Atwater, a working class, single black mother in Durham, NC, who quit her job as a household domestic to join the civil rights fight, and C. P. Ellis, a working class white man also from Durham who, as a young man, joined the Ku Klux Klan.
The short version of the story goes... During the 1960s, as the country struggled with race matters, Atwater and Ellis met on opposite sides of the public school integration debate. Their encounters were charged with hatred and suspicion. But, eventually, in an amazing set of transformations, each came to see how the other had been exploited by the South's rigid power structure, and they would form a friendship that flourished within an explosively bigoted environment at the time.
Author Osha Gray Davidson wrote a book on the pair titled "The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South," which was published in 2007. I assume Bissell's feature film will borrow from the book, which, according to Amazon, "is rich with details about the rhythms of daily life in the mid-twentieth-century South," providing "a vivid portrait of a relationship that defied all odds. By placing this very personal story into broader context, Osha Gray Davidson demonstrates that race is intimately tied to issues of class, and that cooperation is possible -- even in the most divisive situations -- when people begin to listen to one another."
Obviously a timely project in light of recent race-inspired events.
Joining Henson (who is of course playing Ann Atwater) in front of the camera is Sam Rockwell, who will play Ellis, and Babou Ceesay (star of Showtime's "Guerrilla" miniseries) will be Bill Riddick, the man who persuaded Ellis and Atwater to work together and reach a compromise.
In addition, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, Nick Searcy, and John Gallagher Jr. round out the cast.
Tobey Maguire (yes, former Spider-Man) will produce along with Danny Strong, co-creator of "Empire," as well as Matthew Plouffe.
This reads like it could be the kind of project that draws critical acclaim, including awards attention.