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Filmmaker Gerard McMurray, who took audiences to the early days of The Purge franchise with The First Purge, is stepping into a whole new universe. The filmmaker will write and direct an adaptation of Black, the comic book that takes place in a universe in which only Black people possess superpowers.
The adaptation of Black hails from Studio 8 and will be distributed by Warner Bros.
The comic debuted in 2016 from indie publisher Black Mask Studios, with the original series following Kareem Jenkins, who discovered his powers after being shot by police. The series was followed by the graphic novel Black [AF]: America’s Sweetheart, which centered on Eli Franklin, a young girl who becomes a superhero to bridge racial divides in America.
The comic was created by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3, with artists Jamal Igle and Khary Randolph.
The film adaptation will center on a young man who discovers his powers after surviving a violent crime. He soon finds himself in the middle of a war over the future of humanity in a world in which a secret society seeks to control the empowered and their abilities.
McMurray directed the Sundance film Burning Sands about fraternity hazing culture. He got his start as an associate producer on the critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station, directed by his USC classmate Ryan Coogler. He jumped to studio filmmaking with The First Purge, which earned $137 million globally on a $13 million budget. He is also attached to direct The Formula, a Netflix racecar drama starring John Boyega and Robert De Niro, as well as the Sony feature Booker.
“Gerard is a gifted storyteller who has a unique ability to bring character, authenticity and heart to every genre he approaches,” said Studio 8 CEO and founder Jeff Robinov. “When we saw his vision for Black, we knew he was the only one to bring this incredible comic series to the big screen.”
“Black is a bold and fresh spin on the superhero genre. I fell in love with the colorful world Kwanza and Tim created in the comics, and I’m excited to bring life to a story that entertains and challenges the audience at the same time. Black does just that,” said McMurray in a statement.
Robinov and John Graham will produce for Studio 8. Osajyefo and Smith will co-produce with Black Mask Studio’s Matteo Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz serving as producer and executive producer.
Black Mask is repped by The Framework Collective and WME. Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3 are represented by Matt Sugarman at Weintraub Tobin. McMurray is represented by WME, Artists First and Gang, Tyre.
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