Today marks the 65th anniversary that Emmett Till was brutally murdered in 1955. As his story continues to reverberate throughout racial justice movements till this day, a group of filmmakers are preparing to tell his story for the big screen.
According to Shadow and Act, a feature film is being developed based on Till’s death. It will also follow the life of his mother Mamie Till Mobley, whose fight for justice and insistence of an open casket funeral became a launching point for the civil rights movement.
The description for the movie further reads:
“The film is based on the extensive research of award-winning documentarian Keith Beauchamp and his relationship with Mamie Till Mobley and Emmett Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright who was an eyewitness to the kidnapping of Till and who served as a consultant to the project before his death in 2017. For more than 27 years, Beauchamp has investigated the kidnapping, torture and murder of Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman. His efforts succeeded in getting the United States Department of Justice to reopen the case in 2004.”
Beauchamp’s research informed the film’s screenplay, which he wrote with Michael J P Reilly and Chinonye Chukwu.
Chukwu will also direct the movie. The rising filmmaker recently gain acclaimed for her 2019 movie, Clemency, which stars Alfre Woodard and tells the story of a Black prison warden (Woodard) who must oversee the capital punishment of another Black person (Aldis Hodge). For writing and directing the movie, Chukwu became the first Black woman to receive the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
The Emmett Till movie is set to start production in 2021.
“I am deeply honored to be telling this story and working with such an incredible producing team,” explained Chukwu. “Amidst the pain and brutality that is inherent to Mamie and Emmett’s story, I intend to delve deeply into their humanities, the love and joy they shared, and the activist consciousness that grows within Mamie as she seeks justice for her son.”
Whoopi Goldberg cosigned Chukwu’s leadership, saying:
“Today the return of open racism reminds us that the real danger is in NOT telling Emmett Till’s story. Chinonye Chukwu taking the helm as our director is an opportunity for us to step forward artfully and without fear to tell the truth. We could not be in better hands.”
Keith Beauchamp added:
“I’m truly excited that we are teaming up with Chinonye to tell this powerful story. With Emmett Till’s name being spoken today among Black Lives Matter chants, it is more important than ever to understand why this senseless murder took place and the selfless actions taken by my dear friend Mrs. Mamie Till Mobley that led to the mobilization of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement. This isn’t a movie, it’s a movement.”