EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Appian Way are negotiating to acquire screen rights to the Beth Macy book Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, And A Mother’s Quest; A True Story Of The Jim Crow South. Appian Way’s DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson will produce and the book will be developed as a potential star vehicle for DiCaprio. The book tells the true story of two African-American brothers who were kidnapped and displayed as circus freaks, while their mother endured a 28-year struggle to get them back.
The tale takes place in 1899 on a tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, VA. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, and soon they were captured and turned into circus performers that performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous and demoralizing caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even “Ambassadors from Mars.” Back home, their mother had no idea what had become of her sons, and she never accepted that they were “gone.” She spent 28 years trying to get them back.
The book was repped by Foundry’s Richie Kern.