Taraji P. Henson has signed on to produce and star in a new film about murdered 1950s hate crime victim Emmett Till.
The Empire star has been keen to make the film for several years and now she reveals she will portray Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in the untitled film, which will be directed by John Singleton.
“We don’t have a start date yet, but the deal has been done,” she tells website Global Grind.
Till, an African–American teenager, was brutally beaten, shot through the head and dumped in the Tallahatchie River with barbed wire tied around his neck after he was falsely accused of flirting with a white woman in Mississippi in 1955.
Following her son’s murder, Till-Mobley become a civil rights leader and teacher. She passed away in 2003.
Henson’s film is not the only Till project in development – in 2015, it was reported rapper Jay-Z and Will Smith had teamed up to executive produce an untitled mini-series, and late film critic Roger Ebert’s widow, Chaz Ebert, is also executive producing a film based on the book Death of Innocence:
The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America, which was written by Till’s mother and award-winning journalist Christopher Benson.
Whoopi Goldberg is also planning to produce Till, which will be based on producer Keith A. Beauchamp’s 2004 documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till and Simeon Wright’s Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till.
In 2015, Goldberg and her fellow producers launched a fundraising initiative on Kickstarter.com in a bid to raise $50,000 to help with filming costs.