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HBO Films announced this week Steven Caple, Jr. has been selected to write a new mini-series on the tragic death of civil rights icon Emmett Till, according to Deadline. Caple is known for his debut feature film The Land, which chronicled young skateboarders caught up in the drug wars of Cleveland, Ohio.
The as-yet untitled Emmett Till miniseries will be a major undertaking, because of the importance of the story to American history and the major names lined up behind the film. In addition to a high-profile home on cable network HBO, the project is being executive produced by Roc Nation’s Jay-Z, Jay Brown, and Ty Ty Smith, Overbrook Entertainment’s Will Smith and James Lassiter, Kapital Entertainment’s Aaron Kaplan, The Affleck Middleton Project’s Casey Affleck and John Middleton, Serendipity Film Group’s Rosanna Grace, as well as Alex Foster and David Clark.
The miniseries will be based on the book Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked The World And Propelled The Civil Rights Movement by Devery Anderson.
In 1955, 14-year old Emmett Till left his native Chicago to spend the summer with relatives in Money, Mississippi. During his stay, he was abducted from his grandparent’s home in the middle of the night and murdered by several men, who accused him of flirting with a white woman while visiting a country store with some of his young relatives. His mutilated corpse was found days later, submerged in the Tallahatchie river tied to a 75-pound cotton-gin fan.
The accused men were eventually tried and acquitted by an all-white jury in less than an hour, but later went on a short-time later to confess their involvement in the crime to Look magazine. The case attracted national attention at the time and galvanized support for Till’s mother around the nation, which helped lead to the growth of the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Steven Caple, Jr. wrote and directed his debut film The Land, which was selected for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was later acquired by IFC Films.
No production, casting, or airs dates for the untitled Emmett Till miniseries have yet been announced by HBO.