Spike Lee is reteaming with frequent collaborator Roger Guenveur Smith on a biopic about Frederick Douglass based on Smith’s acclaimed one-man play, Frederick Douglass NOW. It’s inspired by the life and legacy of the 19th century self-liberated abolitionist, orator, author, social reformer and one of the most seminal figures in U.S. history.
For the stage play, Smith turned Douglass’ texts into a jazz-infused narrative and incorporated original writing of Beckettian tone.
Lee will direct the feature for production company Buffalo 8. Smith has been featured in 10 of Lee’s film including School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and A Huey P. Newton Story, which was also based on a solo play by Smith.
Variety was first to report this news.