Premature filmmaker Rashaad Ernesto Green is set to helm Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Participant and MACRO’s feature movie ’68 inspired by the true story of Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos. The track athletes from San Jose State rose to become Olympic medalists and activists at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. That’s where they both raised their fists in solidarity and in support of human rights.
The screenplay is by Oscar nominated scribe Billy Ray. Participant and MACRO will produce the project, along with Stacy Sherman.
Participant will be incorporating ’68 into its ongoing impact work dedicated to civil rights and social justice. Carlos’ nephews, Airrion and Shaun McCoy, and DeLois Smith, the wife of Tommie Smith, are co-producing.
Bronx-born filmmaker Green received the Independent Spirit Someone to Watch Award in 2020 for his second feature directorial, Premature, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. Shot in Harlem, New York entirely on 16mm film, the movie is currently playing on Hulu. His first movie, Gun Hill Road, was a Grand Jury nominee at Sundance. Green is represented by WME and Granderson Des Rochers.
Ray wrote the screenplay for the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips and other noteworthy films including Richard Jewell, Overlord, The Hunger Games, State of Play, Breach, and Shattered Glass, as well as Showtime’s The Comey Rule, among others. He is represented by CAA.
“Still incredibly powerful and relevant, I’m honored for the opportunity to bring Tommie and John’s riveting story to life; to portray the weight of the world these two giants had on their shoulders and the self-determination, courage and sacrifice it took for them to stand up for all of us,” said Green.
Said Michael De Luca, MGM Film Group Chairman & Pam Abdy, MGM Film Group President, “We are thrilled to have Rashaad Ernesto Green at the helm of this very special film. Olympian Tommie Smith has said that he and fellow Olympian John Carlos ‘had to be seen because we couldn’t be heard.’ The courage and selflessness of these two extraordinary men, who quite literally put their lives on the line to stand up for what was right and true, has stood as a testament to the essential need to speak truth to power. We are deeply grateful to Tommie and John, along with Rashaad, Stacy, Billy, Participant and MACRO, to entrust MGM to bring their story to the world.”
“Participant is proud to work with Rashaad, Stacy, Billy, MGM and MACRO to tell the story of Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos and their historic protest,” said David Linde, CEO of Participant. “At a time when the right to peacefully protest remains under attack, it couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity to tell the story of these courageous men.”
“We are thrilled to work with Rashaad Ernesto Green and the teams at MGM and Participant to bring this incredible story to the screen,” said Charles D. King, Founder & CEO, MACRO. “The moment when Tommie Smith and John Carlos took the podium and raised their fists created a ripple effect of change that resonates to this very day and now audiences worldwide will understand the true extent of their bravery.”
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