EXCLUSIVE: Laurence Fishburne will star alongside Royalty Hightower in Ruby In Murdertown, a crime thriller that marks the feature directorial debut of Leah Rachel, who wrote the script. Production on the indie is slated for next year. Fishburne is producing with Cinema Gypsy partner Helen Sugland and JP Sarni, who heads development for Cinema Gypsy.

Hightower, the 11-year old who had a breakout turn in the Sundance film The Fits (she was just nominated by the Gotham Awards in the Breakthrough Actor category), plays a young drifter driving around in her ’77 Chevy Caprice, who decides to take action after her father (Fishburne) is framed for murder in a crime-ridden Midwest wasteland. She finds the police show little interest in solving the case.

Fishburne, who will next be seen in Passengers opposite Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, and in John Wick 2 opposite Keanu Reeves, is currently shooting the Richard Linklater-directed Last Flag Flying with Steve Carell and Bryan Cranston. Hightower most recently wrapped the indie And Then I Go opposite Justin Long, Melanie Lynskey and Carrie Preston

The actress is repped by Paradigm and Principato-Young Entertainment. Fishburne is repped by Paradigm, Landmark Artists and Del Shaw Moonves. Rachel is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Bloom Hergott. The North American rights to Ruby in Murdertown are being repped by Paradigm and WME Global.

Cinema Gypsy is currently in post-production on Bronzeville, a 10-episode audio drama written by A History Of Violence scribe Josh Olson and produced with Larenz Tate’s company TateMan Entertainment and Audio HQ. Cinema Gypsy is also in post-production on the BET six-hour miniseries Madiba, in which Fishburne is starring as Nelson Mandela. Kevin Hooks is directing and Blue Ice Pictures and Out of Africa Entertainment are producing. Cinema Gypsy also is producing the hit ABC sitcom Black-ish and is developing and producing an adaptation of The Alchemist at TriStar with Kevin Frakes of Palm Star Media.

Fishburne and Cinema Gypsy are represented by Paradigm, Landmark Artists Management, and Del Shaw Moonves.