George C. Wolfe is directing the film produced by the Obamas’ Higher Ground banner
Colman Domingo, Chris Rock, Audra McDonald and Glynn Turman are set to star in “Rustin,” a biopic about gay civil rights icon Bayard Rustin that’s in the works at Netflix.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” filmmaker George C. Wolfe is directing the film that the Obamas’ Higher Ground banner is producing. Wolfe is also co-writing the screenplay with “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Domingo will play the title role of Bayard Rustin, who, because of his sexuality, often worked behind the scenes during the Civil Rights Movement, only to emerge later in his life as a vocal advocate for gay rights before his death in 1987.
Chris Rock will portray activist Roy Wilkins in the film, Glynn Turman will portray A. Philip Randolph and Audra McDonald will play Ella Baker.
“Rustin” specifically tells the story of how a charismatic civil rights icon overcame an onslaught of obstacles and altered the course of American history by organizing the 1963 March on Washington.
Oscar winner Bruce Cohen is producing “Rustin” along with Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis. Mark R. Wright and Alex G. Scott are executive producing for Higher Ground.
“Rustin” is the first feature film that Higher Ground is producing, though the company’s upcoming slate of projects with Netflix includes the features “Exit West” and “Satellite,” as well as the comedy series “The G Word” with Adam Conover. Higher Ground also presented the Kevin Hart movie “Fatherhood” and the Michael Keaton drama “Worth.”
Colman Domingo previously worked with Wolfe on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and he’s had a busy year starring in “Candyman” and “Zola.” Rock will next appear in David O. Russell’s upcoming untitled film. Turman also appeared in “Ma Rainey’s.” And McDonald recently starred in the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect.”
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