In the upcoming limited series produced by Kapital Entertainment, Warren portrays Mamie Till-Mobley, who in 1955 risked her life to find justice after her son Emmett (Cedric Joe) was brutally murdered in the Jim Crow South. Unwilling to let Emmett’s murder disappear from the headlines, Mamie chose to bear her pain on the world’s stage, emerging as an activist for justice and igniting the civil rights movement as we know it today. Tonya Pinkins, Ray Fisher, Glynn Turman, Chris Coy, Carter Jenkins and Julia McDermott also star in the series, from creator, showrunner and EP Marissa Jo Cerar.
Cerar was joined today at the virtual press conference by cast members Warren, Pinkins, Fisher, Joe and Turman, with Emmett Till’s cousin Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. and his wife, Dr. Marvel Parker—who served as consultants for the series—providing an introduction. The Reverend shared his hope that the series will light “a fire” in the bellies of viewers to “stand up for what’s right,” with his wife expressing her gratitude for the fact that Till’s story is “being told truthfully” in the series.
“Although this story is not a pleasant story, it needs to be told over and over again to remind us of American history,” added Revered Parker, “to show us how far we’ve come, and how much more we have to do.”
Cerar noted that she was inspired to tell the story of the Tills given that it is little understood and often misrepresented— condensed down to “a picture of a smiling boy and a picture of a brutalized boy,” along with myriad “rumors” and “myths.” Her hope was to “learn about who Emmett Till was,” and to present his story in a way that felt “humanity-forward.”
Warren spoke about tapping into “the root” of Mamie Till-Mobley’s pain and love, with Turman addressing the continuing relevance of her story. He noted that Till-Mobley would have celebrated her 100th birthday on November 24—the same day that three men were convicted of the 2020 murder of Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery. “There’s some kind of poetic justice in that,” he said. “But it also lets you know how the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Journalists speaking with Fisher tried to get him to connect his experience on the set of Justice League to his work on the civil rights-themed film. (Fisher has taken repeatedly to social media to call out alleged “gross and abusive” behavior on the set of the Warner Bros. film, even after WarnerMedia announced that it had wrapped up its investigation into the matter and taken “remedial action,” late last year.) Today, however, the actor didn’t take the bait, simply speaking to his feeling that the project came to him at the right moment.
“This project is bigger than any issue I’ve ever had, bigger than any specific issue that anyone I’ve known personally has ever had,” he said. “To be able to put action behind the words, to tell this story and not just hashtag support, to get on set to tell this story that will affect the minds of generations to come, that’s where the real work is. It’s meant the world to me.”
Women of the Movement is inspired by the book Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement by Devery S. Anderson. Aaron Kaplan is exec producing with Dana Honor and Michael Lohmann for Kapital Entertainment; Shawn Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith for Roc Nation; Will Smith and James Lassiter for Westbrook; Rosanna Grace for Serendipity Group Inc.; Alex Foster and John Powers Middleton for Middleton Media Group; David Clark for Mazo Partners; and Gina Prince-Bythewood. Cerar penned the first episode, directed by Prince-Bythewood, with Tina Mabry, Julie Dash and Kasi Lemmons also helming episodes. Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. and Dr. Marvel Parker were joined as consultants on the series by Ollie Gordon and Christopher Benson.
Check out the Women of the Movement featurette above. New character portraits and photos from the series can be found below.
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