Through films like The Banker, Detroit, and The Hate U Give, actor Anthony Mackie has used his craft to capture narratives that illustrate the Black experience in America. He will tell yet another powerful story from the director’s chair for his next project. According to Deadline, Mackie will make his feature directorial debut with a film about civil rights trailblazer Claudette Colvin.
Colvin’s act of bravery has often been left out of history books. On March 2, 1955, the then 15-year-old refused to give up her seat for a white passenger while riding a city bus home from school in Montgomery, Alabama; nearly nine months before Rosa Parks mirrored the same act of defiance. Colvin was arrested and was one of the four plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle court case, challenging the city’s unconstitutional segregated bus system. Although her story made local headlines, it didn’t garner as much attention as Parks’ due to ageism, colorism and classism. Leaders at the forefront of the movement didn’t believe Colvin fit the mold to be the face of their campaign.
Mackie’s film—dubbed “Spark”—will serve as a cinematic ode to Colvin’s courageousness and resiliency, ensuring her story is brought out of the shadows of obscurity. Colvin will be portrayed by Saniyya Sidney, who played the role of Venus Williams in “King Richard.”
“67 years ago, when history glued me to the seat of that bus in Montgomery, I could never have imagined that standing up for my rights could spark a movement that would change the course of history,” 82-year-old Colvin shared in a statement, according to the news outlet. “It is really an honor to have my story retold, by Mr. Mackie, for future generations to learn about our past so they can move forward knowing that progress is possible, and things do get better. I hope my story will inspire youth to continue to fight for civil rights and human dignity.”
Mackie added he was inspired and moved by Colvin and is honored to tell her story. Make it with Gravy Productions, Mandalay Pictures and Mansa Productions will collectively develop the film. Kellon Akeem will produce alongside Marc Ambrose, Jason Michael Berman and Mackie. Niceole R. Levy will pen the script.
News about the film comes a month after Colvin had her court record expunged nearly seven decades after refusing to give up her seat on the bus.