A24 Wins Worldwide Rights to Adaptation of Richard Wright Novel 'Native Son'

Ashton Sanders and Nick Robinson_Split - Getty - H 2018
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Ashton Sanders ('Moonlight') is in final negotiations to play the classic character Bigger Thomas.

A24 has nabbed the worldwide rights to Native Son, a new adaptation of the classic Richard Wright novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3).

In his first turn helming a feature film, conceptual artist Rashid Johnson is set to direct.

Wright's 1940 original novel followed a poor, 20-year-old black Chicagoan, Bigger Thomas, as he takes a job as a chauffeur for the wealthy, white Dalton family. When Thomas accidentally commits an act of violence against a member of the family, he engages in an elaborate cover-up scheme that begets more crimes. Wright emphasizes throughout the novel that society has been set up to make Thomas what he becomes.

Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) is in final negotiations to portray Thomas, while Margaret Qualley (Novitiate), Nick Robinson (Love, Simon), KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Bill Camp (The Night Of) are in talks to play other key roles. Black Swan cinematographer Matthew Libatique has been tapped as director of photography.

Bow and Arrow Entertainment's Matthew Pernicaro and Michael Sherman, of Sundance's Skate Kitchen and Madeline's Madeline, developed and will produce. UTA negotiated their deal.

Johnson is repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham, while Suzan-Lori Parks is repped by UTA and Schreck Rose & Dapello and Bow and Arrow by Levin Law Corp.