EXCLUSIVE: Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, Steven Yeun will star in first-time director Boots Riley’s drama Sorry to Bother You. The project is slated to go before the cameras this month in Oakland, CA where the critically acclaimed Fruitvale Station was filmed. Not surprisingly, Fruitvale Station‘s Nina Yang Bongiovi and Forest Whitaker of Signficant Prods. are producing along with 6 Years‘ Jonathan Duffy and Kelly Williams, Charles D. King (Fences), George Rush (Bully).
Significant Productions (Dope), MNM Creative, MACRO and Cinereach are financing the film about “a black telemarketer with self-esteem issues” who “discovers a magical key to business success, propelling him to the upper echelons of the hierarchy just as his activist comrades are rising up against unjust labor practices. When he uncovers the macabre secret of his corporate overlords, he must decide whether to stand up or sell out.”
The executive producers of Sorry to Bother You are Kim Roth (Inside Man), Poppy Hanks (Fences), Michael Y. Chow (Fruitvale Station, Dope), Michael K. Shen (Dope) and Gus Deardoff (Dara Ju), Philipp Engelhorn (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Caroline Kaplan (Time Out of Mind).
MNM Creative is a multi-national film and content fund managed by Michael Y. Chow and Michael K. Shen. Launched in 2015, MACRO is a media asset holding company founded by Charles D. King and is focused on premium content creation, distribution and engagement for African American, Latino and multicultural (ALM) audiences. They were the company behind the multi-nominated Oscar film Fences (based on the play by August Wilson) which garnered a win for Viola Davis as Best Supporting Actress. They are also the company behind Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees, which bowed at Sundance this year to high acclaim.
A little bit about the new director on the scene. Riley studied film at San Francisco State University before ending his studies in favor of a major label recording deal for his band, The Coup. He directed a music video for The Coup’s Me And Jesus The Pimp In A ’79 Granada Last Night upon which the novel Too Beautiful For Words was based.
Thompson and Stanfield previously both worked on the critically-acclaimed and Oscar nominated Best Picture Selma together. Thompson, who also appeared in Creed, stars as the female lead Valkyrie in Disney/Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok which bows on Nov. 3. Upcoming also for her is a starring turn in Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller Annihilation opposite Natalie Portman. And, this summer she will begin production on season 2 of HBO’s Westworld.
Stanfield will next star in The Incredible Jessica James (Netflix), Crown Heights (Amazon), Death Note (Netflix), Come Sunday (Netflix) opposite Chiwetel Ejiofor as well as season 2 of FX’s Atlanta.
WME Global is repping worldwide rights.
Thompson is repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency, Mosaic and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein. Stanfield is repped by CAA, Stark Management and Ginsburg Daniels Kallis.
Yeun (The Walking Dead) is repped by Principal Entertainment LA, The Gotham Group and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.