According to Variety, former Empire star Jussie Smollett will make his directorial debut with a film adaptation of B-Boy Blues, James Earl Hardy’s 1994 novel. The book has spawned the B-Boy Blues series, which comprises six novels and one short story. The film will be produced through Smollett’s own company, SuperMassive Movies.
In February 2019, Smollett, 37, was indicted for disorderly conduct for allegedly staging a hate crime assault. A month later, the charges dismissed a month later, yet this past February, he was indicted again on six counts of making false police reports. The actor still maintains his innocence.
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B-Boy Blues will start production on October 17. The film is being financed by SuperMassive and Tom Wilson, a Cleveland-based investor who funds independent, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC films. Smollett will produce, along with author Hardy, Frank Gatson, Sampson McCormick and Madia Hill Scott.
Set in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1993, the film delves into the relationship between 27-year-old journalist Mitchell Crawford and 21-year-old bicycle messenger Raheim Rivers, who meet at a gay bar. Rivers is known as a B-boy or banjee boy, a term from ballroom culture that describes someone who projects a rough image. As Crawford gets to know Rivers, he discovers that he has a 5-year-old son and a history of violence.
Smollett, best known for playing Jamal Lyon on Fox’s Empire, won an NAACP Image Award for Best Supporting Actor for the role. He has previously directed two episodes of Empire. Following his indictment, the actor was released from his contract at Fox. He has not acted since.
Born in New York City, Smollett has five brothers and sisters. His sister Jurnee Smollett currently stars in the HBO supernatural horror drama Lovecraft Country as Letitia Lewis, while his brother Jake Smollett, also an actor, has appeared on several cooking shows and was featured as a guest judge on Food Network’s hit show Chopped Junior.
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