2:45pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Malcolm X Scripted TV Series in the Works
Manning Marable's Pulitzer Prize-winning Malcolm X biography is getting the TV treatment.
Independent studio Critical Content has optioned Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention and plans to adapt the book into a scripted drama series. David Matthews (Boardwalk Empire, Tyrant) is on board to pen the script and exec produce alongside Critical Content's Tom Forman, Andrew Marcus and Ray Ricord. Dr. Leith Mullings and Michael Tyner will produce and serve as consultants. A network is not yet attached as producers search for filmmakers to join the project. Critical Content, the company behind CBS' The Case of: JonBenet Ramsey, also plans to produce a subsequent documentary on the ongoing legacy of Malcolm X.
Critical Content says the TV project will be informed by the biography and dramatize the life of Malcolm X. The book has become the definitive guide to his life, with the author's research uncovering previously unknown details about Malcolm X and his evolution into a human rights activist.
The project remains in early development; casting has not yet begun.
Should the drama move forward, it would become the latest of several portrayals of Malcolm X in film and television. Denzel Washington starred in the 1992 feature film; James Earl Jones took on the role in 1977's The Greatest; and Al Freeman Jr. and Morgan Freeman starred in 1979 mini and 1981 TV movie Roots: The Next Generations and Death of a Prophet, respectively. More recently, Nigel Thatch starred as Malcolm X in 2014's Selma.
Critical Content, launched in October 2015, focuses on developing scripted and unscripted fare for broadcast, cable and digital platforms. The company's credits include MTV's Catfish, CBS' one-and-done drama Limitless and Crackle's StartUp.
Critical Content is repped by WME; Matthews is with WME and Anonymous Content. UTA represented the Marable Estate on behalf of the Cheney Agency.