EXCLUSIVE: Empire star Taraji P. Henson is poised to reunite with that hit Fox show’s creator Danny Strong by playing the lead in The Best Of Enemies. That film will mark the directorial debut for Hunger Games producer Robin Bissell, who wrote the script. Strong will produce the film with Material’s Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe. The film is based on the incredible true story of Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis.
Henson, hot from a freshman performance as the irrepressible Cookie Lyon, will play Atwater, the ferocious civil rights activist in Durham, North Carolina. She had a decade-long battle with sworn enemy C.P. Ellis, the Exalted Cyclops of Durham’s Ku Klux Klan. Their feud came to an abrupt and unlikely end in 1971. After a court-ordered school desegregation decree threw the Southern city into turmoil, Atwater and Ellis reluctantly agreed to co-chair an intensive, two week community meeting to try to reach a compromise. The extraordinary events that followed changed Durham, and the lives of Atwater and Ellis forever. The film is inspired by the true events chronicled in The Best Of Enemies: Race And Redemption In The New South by Osha Gray Davidson. Filmmakers are aiming to begin principal photography in early 2016. Last seen on the big screen in Top Five and Think Like A Man Too, Henson is repped by Vincent Cirrincione Associates and SMGSBLaw. She most recently wrapped the Peter Billingsley-directed Term Life. She was Oscar-nominated for The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.