Lee Daniels Entertainment has optioned Sam Greenlee’s spy novel The Spook Who Sat By The Door to develop as a series based on the book and the 1970s cult classic blakxpoitation film of the same name, with Fox 21 Television Studios.
A search is out for a writer. Based on the book, the potential series looks at the fictional story of Dan Freeman, the first African American CIA officer hired by the agency in the late 1960s. The story chronicles the quest of Freeman, who was recruited as part of an affirmative-action program. After a very competitive selection process he trains in high-level combat and espionage. However, following this arduous training, this model recruit is rewarded with a post in the reprographics (aka photocopying) department, ‘left by the door’ as a token of the CIA’s ‘racial equality’.
Greenlee’s novel was first published in March 1969 by Allison & Busby in the UK, and by the Richard W. Baron Publishing Company, in the U.S. Described as the first black nationalist novel, The Spook Who Sat by the Door was translated into several languages, including French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Swedish, and German and received the Sunday Times Book of the Year award in 1969, The 1973 feature, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, which starred Lawrence Cook as Dan Freeman, was directed by Ivan Dixon. Greenlee co-wrote the screenplay with Melvin Clay.