On the heels of the strong boxoffice opening for Boots Riley’s feature debut, Sorry To Bother You, the musician-turned-filmmaker is making a foray into TV with a script deal at Michael Ellenberg’s studio Media Res. The project, whose premise is not being revealed, will be packaged and shopped to premium outlets later this year.
Ellenberg and Riley first met following the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where Riley’s Sorry To Bother You screened and was quickly scooped up by Annapurna Pictures in a seven-figure deal. The fantasy/science fiction film, which marked Riley’s directorial debut, follows a young African-American telemarketer (Lakeith Stanfield) who adopts a white accent in order to succeed at his job. Tessa Thompson, Omari Hardwick, Jermaine Fowler, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Danny Glover and Armie Hammer also star. The film, which also earned Riley the Sundance Institute’s Vanguard Award, opened in limited release last weekend to strong reviews and solid box office, earning $815,000 in 16 locations.
Rapper, producer, writer and director, Riley is best known for his two-decade span as leader of The Coup, a radical funk/punk/hip-hop band, where he penned six albums, receiving “Pop Album of The Year” by The Washington Post and the Associated Press, and “Hip Hop Album of The Year” by Rolling Stone.
Ellenberg’s Media Res is the studio behind Apple’s upcoming Untitled Morning Show drama, starring and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. Ellenberg executive produces the series, based on his original concept.
Riley is repped by WME and attorneys Cohen & Gardner.