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Danielle Deadwyler and Whoopi Goldberg have boarded Clemency director Chinonye Chukwu’s movie about the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley’s subsequent pursuit of justice.
MGM’s Orion Pictures unveiled the casting for Till, which will see Deadwyler (Watchmen) star as Mamie Till-Mobley, with Oscar winner Goldberg in the role of Till’s grandmother Alma Carthan. The movie will cover Till-Mobley’s insistence on an open casket funeral for her son, which became a galvanizing moment that helped lead to the creation of the civil rights movement.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Danielle, a powerhouse of an actor, who will bring a brilliant complexity and groundedness to her portrayal of Mamie. And it is a dream come true to be working with the legendary Whoopi Goldberg, especially in telling this story,” Chukwu said in a statement. Chukwu became the first Black woman to receive the Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival for Clemency.
The Till screenplay about a mother’s pursuit for justice written by Chukwu is based on a previous draft by Keith Beauchamp and Michael J P Reilly. The story is based on the research conducted by documentarian 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 Till for whistling at a white woman, eventually getting the U.S. Department of Justice to reopen the case in 2004.
“It is a gift to learn the legacy and intimacies of our ancestors, those familial and communal, as is the life of Mamie Till-Mobley, a public leader and mother of the movement. I am charged with humility and great will to embody her life at such an integral moment of personal tragedy and political rebellion, a boon to the civil rights movement, and to represent the joy in the love and life shared between Mamie Till and her beloved Emmett Till,” Deadwyler added in her own statement.
The Till producers are Beauchamp, James Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli, Goldberg, Thomas K Levine, Michael J P Reilly and Frederick Zollo.
Deadwyler is repped by Paradigm, Play Management and Ziffren Brittenham.
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