As had been widely expected — and reported — Amazon has now confirmed that Spike Lee’s Chi-raq will be its first original movie. Chi-Raq will feature Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris, Angela Basset with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Teyonah Parris will play the lead role. Chi-Raq was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped last week.

Written by Lee and Kevin Willmott, (C.S.A: Confederate States Of America), Chi-Raq looks at inner city violence in Chicago.  “Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time,” said Ted Hope, Head of Motion Picture Production at Amazon Studios. “It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye, and he tackles important subjects with humor and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems. Chi-Raq may be his greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet—everything about it is distinctive.”

 “I’m honored to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important. Please don’t be fooled by the title of Chi-Raq, this new Spike Lee joint will be something very special. We have assembled a stellar cast,” said Spike Lee. 

Deadline broke the news last month that Amazon had made its first feature acquisition with the Kevin Spacey-Michael Shannon-starrer Elvis & Nixon, directed by Liza Johnson.