Per Deadline, the accomplished musician made the announcement of the forthcoming feature, The Book of Clarence, which is being described as a “Bible-era” epic taking place in 29 AD starring LaKeith Stanfield. According to Samuel, the script for the film is already written with production hopefully set for some time this summer and the plot of it was surprisingly teased in the popular Netflix western.
“I gave a huge Easter egg in The Harder They Fall to what my next movie is,” Samuel explained to Deadline. “Jim Beckwourth [RJ Cyler] is on his horse. Nat Love [Jonathan Majors] says, ‘You got a reason you want to die, too, Jim?’ And he says, ‘Outside of you saving me from this?’ And shows burn marks from the rope that was around his neck. He goes, ‘Besides, I hear Cherokee Bill [LaKeith Stanfield] runs with Rufus [Idris Elba]. Every time I speak on my speed, people pull Cherokee Bill out their ass. I’m going to put an end to that debate once and forever. Like you say in the Book of Clarence, ‘Can’t no man outspeed me.’’ And Bill Picket [Edi Gathegi] says, ‘Outspeed ain’t a word and Clarence ain’t a book.’
Samuel went on to explain how this next film would be a “full fun-filled extravaganza” with Black faces in a genre (much like Westerns) that they aren’t traditionally seen in—but that unlike Westerns, there’s no template to go off of when it comes to telling Biblical stories with Black people.
“I want to tell the tales that we’ve never had before. We’ve never had Black people in the Bible days of cinema. There’s not even a template for us to go, “’Well, like that movie?’ We’d seen a Black cowboy before. We’ve never seen… Even when Andrew Lloyd Webber made something as nuanced as Jesus Christ Superstar, there’s no Black people in it, except Judas. Judas was the Black guy.”
Samuel later added, “I’ll give you a Western and then we’re going to the Bible days. And then we’re going to go somewhere else, and I’ll go back to the Old West. And then nothing is going to stop me telling the stories that I want to tell. I have boundless energy and boundless creativity.”
As previously reported by The Root, in addition to The Book of Clarence, Samuel will also be directing the upcoming adaptation of Boom! Comics’ Irredeemable and Incorruptible for Netflix. Oscar-nominee Kemp Powers, (One Night in Miami, Soul) will pen the script with Jay-Z and James Lassiter set to produce. Samuel and Jay-Z will also produce another forthcoming Netflix feature with Kid Cudi, Teddy, which also marks the “Day ‘n’ Nite” rappers directorial debut.