EXCLUSIVE: Revolution‘s Giancarlo Esposito has lined up historical drama Patriotic Treason as his next directing project, with Oscar-nominated Ed Harris set to star as radical abolitionist John Brown. Adapted by Oscar nominee Jose Rivera (Motorcycle Diaries, On The Road) from Evan Carton’s 2006 book Patriotic Treason: John Brown And The Soul of America, the film centers on the controversial figure known for his 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry. Brown hoped the attack would ignite a slave uprising. Instead it left 11 dead and led to Brown’s capture, after which he was found guilty of treason and hanged. Political enemies considered Brown a madman and a terrorist but the notoriety of his violent attacks are credited with sparking the Civil War. The Emmy-nominated Esposito will also star in Patriotic Treason as Frederick Douglass, the freed slave-turned-abolitionist and orator who declined to join Brown’s Harper’s Ferry attack.
Said Esposito: “John Brown was the lightning rod of his place and time, but, to me, his story is just as electric in our world today, where controversies about race, religion, patriotism, and the use of violence for democratic ends are as intense as they were then.” Spectrum Films’ Keith Sweitzer studied the life of John Brown at the University of Texas under professor Carton, and helped develop the Patriotic Treason book deal. He, Robert Knott, and Esposito will produce with Act 4’s Jesse Singer & David Johnson, who are eyeing an early summer shoot. Esposito, who made his directorial debut with 2008’s Gospel Hill, is repped by ICM Partners and Thruline Entertainment. Harris next appears in Run All Night, Cymbeline, and Frontera and is repped by CAA. Rivera is repped by WME and Code Entertainment. Carton is repped by Renaissance Literary & Talent.