Another slavery-set film is in the Hollywood pipeline – this one involving Will Smith’s son Jaden.
Author James McBride’s book “The Good Lord Bird” is getting a big screen adaptation with Smith and Liev Schreiber in the lead roles of Henry “Onion” Shackleford (Smith), a young slave who links up with radical abolitionist John Brown (Schreiber) in 1856 Kansas and travels the nation with Brown’s motley crew of freedom fighters.
The story is told with a satirical bent through the eyes of Onion, who wears a dress and is at first mistaken for a girl, as he bears witness to Brown’s historic campaign and encounters the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman en route to the bloody Harper’s Ferry raid that helped spark the Civil War.
McBride is also producing the adaptation of his NY Times bestseller which was a 2013 National Book Award winner and made Publishers Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year list. It has drawn comparisons to Mark Twain’s classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, according to Deadline.com.
Fifteen-year-old Smith is coming off a run of feature turns in Sony’s “Karate Kid” reboot with Jackie Chan and sci-fier “After Earth,” opposite his father. He’s set to return for “Karate Kid 2,” under director Breck Eisner.
Schreiber, a Golden Globe nominee for his leading turn on Showtime’s “Ray Donovan,” will produce alongside McBride and Brian Taylor. McBride and Taylor previously teamed on another slavery-themed project, FX’s event series “The Code,” which is adapted from McBride’s book Song Yet Sung about Tubman and is set to star Kelsey Grammer.