EXCLUSIVE: Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq, Mad Men) is in talks to star in Buffalo Soldier Girl, the story of a woman who, disguised as a man, enlisted and fought with the African American Post Civil War era as a ‘Buffalo Soldier.’ The project will be directed by Christine Swanson for production company, Pantheon of Women from a screenplay by Sarah Bird. The writer is a best-selling author and has been named Best Austin Author four times by the readers of the Austin Chronicle. Bird is also writing for the Pantheon of Women, a production company founded by Alicia Goodrow, Donna Fujimoto Cole, and Deborah Kainer.
Principal photography is expected to start this fall in Texas. The project, which is an original work inspired by history, reunites Parris with Swanson, who directed the actress in the upcoming biopic Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story, which will air on TV One.
The screenplay from Bird is also a winner of the Meryl Streep Writer’s Lab Screenwriting Competition. Interestingly, the project and the players have a history with the Bentonville Film Festival and all will return this year. Christine Swanson will participate in the 2016 Bentonville Film Festival’s mentoring workshop while Parris will attend in support of her film, Five Nights in Maine.
Pantheon, whose motto is “Entertain, Engage, and Empower,” has a goal of enabling women to show their strengths and tell their stories in front of and behind the camera. Pantheon also has a relationship with the Bentonville Film Festival, which last year screened the company’s first film, I Dream Too Much starring Diane Ladd, Eden Brolin, and Danielle Brooks. That film was recently acquired by The Orchard.
Swanson has developed, written and/or directed movie projects for HBO Films, Magnolia Pictures, State Street Pictures, TV One and Faith Filmworks. In 2015, Christine directed three original cable movie premieres for TV One: NAACP Image Award Nominated For the Love of Ruth, To Hell and Back and the aforementioned Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story. Recently, Swanson was tapped to adapt the award-winning book by Ben Mikaelsen, Touching Spirit Bear, into a screenplay.
Parris also starred in the critical favorite Dear White People and currently starts on the LeBron James produced comedy series Survivor’s Remorse, which is premiering its third season this summer on Starz. She is repped by APA, Vanguard Management Group and Fox Rothschild.