Michael Brown was just 18 years old when he was gunned down in Ferguson, Mo., by Police Officer Darren Wilson in August 2014. His death became a focal point in the Movement for Black lives, and now Hollywood studio Warner Bros. has a project in development to tell his story on the big screen.
The Tracking Board is reporting that Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown, a memoir written by Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, with novelist Lyah Beth LeFlore.
Several studios reportedly showed interest in making a movie about the shooting after Simon & Schuster published McSpadden’s book, but Warner Bros. won. Insiders say that the studio is looking to hire a writer of color to take on the sensitive topic and adapt the book into a screenplay.
Brown was not armed during the shooting, and witnesses said that he had his hands up in the air when he was shot. A St. Louis grand jury did not indict Wilson, and the U.S. Department of Justice determined that the witnesses who said Brown’s hands were up were not credible, and that Wilson had shot Brown in self-defense. He was exonerated in Brown’s death.
Brown’s shooting was not the last of its kind, and it continues to be referenced each time another occurs.
According to the Tracking Board, the film based on Brown’s shooting is being developed to be tonally and thematically similar to Crash, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2005.
I hope the studio is indeed seeking a black writer to tell this story. I would also recommend a black director, too. There is nothing more frustrating than having our stories told by someone else who cannot relate to the struggle.
Furthermore, I hope they forgo the insertion of a white savior into the storyline. That is also a problematic Hollywood trope that has no place in a story about Michael Brown.