Ma Rainey Director George C. Wolfe Teams Up With the Obamas' Higher Ground for Upcoming Bayard Rustin Biopic

George C. Wolfe attends “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” premiere at SVA Theater on April 18, 2017 in New York City.
George C. Wolfe attends “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” premiere at SVA Theater on April 18, 2017 in New York City.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris (Getty Images)

Fresh off the critically acclaimed film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is currently racking up hella award nominations, Netflix has announced a brand new project from its accomplished director George C. Wolfe.

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https://www.theroot.com/ma-rainey-director-george-c-wolfe-on-the-legacy-of-rac-1845954888


According to a press release sent to The Root, the masterful playwright will direct Rustin, a biopic centering around gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, in tandem with the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company. Academy Award-winning screenwriter and LGBT activist Dustin Lance Black (Milk) will pen the script as well as produce. Rustin “tells the story of charismatic, gay, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who overcame [an onslaught] of obstacles, and altered the course of American history by organizing the 1963 March on Washington.”

Wolfe is arguably still basking in the afterglow of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which as of today has garnered NAACP, Golden Globe, and Critic’s Choice Award nominations. Speaking exclusively to Deadline, Wolfe touched on his artistic process in bringing the classic August Wilson play to life in feature form.

https://thegrapevine.theroot.com/critics-choice-awards-2021-nominations-announced-taye-1846228440

“My job is to animate a world and make it live. So, it’s just fun. It was fun just working with people who were incredible craftspeople. We had a two-week rehearsal in which we would dig in and get at the material, and the truth that was going on inside of it, and try to animate it and elevate it and excavate it, and try to find as much stuff that was inside. It’s great when there’s wonderful language and character and detail.”

He added, “During the rehearsals, we roughly staged some of the scenes with the band members, but most of the time it was just asking questions and finding out what was going on. It was there that we could make it personal and get at the truth. It was there that we could make it personal and get at the truth.”

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