EXCLUSIVE: 2x Academy Award nominee Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) is set to star alongside Tulsa King‘s Jay Will in the upcoming drama Rob Peace. Through her banner Blue Butterfly, she’ll also exec produce the pic, written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, which is now in production.
Based on Jeff Hobbs’ best-selling biography The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League, the film follows a young man who grew up in a crime-ridden section of Newark, NY and later graduated from Yale with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry earned on scholarship. Peace led a dual life living in the insular world of academia and as a lab researcher of cancer and infectious diseases, while at the same time making six figures from the sale of marijuana. He was killed in a drug-related shooting in 2011.
Blige will play Rob’s mother, Jackie, with Ejiofor portraying his father.
Los Angeles Media Fund is producing Rob Peace, in association with Hill District Media and Participant. Producers include Antoine Fuqua, Rebecca Hobbs, Kat Samick, Andrea Calderwood, Jeffrey Soros, Simon Horsman, and Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet for 25 Stories. Exec producers are Blige, Luke Rodgers and Morgan Earnest for LAMF, Jeff Skoll and Robert Kessel for Participant, Jamin O’Brien, and Bruce Evans for 25 Stories.
Blige is an actress, producer, entrepreneur and 9x Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, boasting eight multi-platinum albums, whose two Academy Award nominations came for her supporting role and song “Mighty River” in Dee Rees’ 2017 historical drama Mudbound for Netflix. The recognition made her not only the first African American woman to notch multiple Oscar noms in the same year, but also the first to do so in both acting and music categories. The project also netted her three Golden Globe noms — including for the song “The Living Proof” — as well as two SAG Award noms and other accolades.
Also an Emmy winner for the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, Blige can currently be seen portraying crime boss Monet Stewart Tejeda in Power Book II: Ghost — the first in a series of spin-offs within Starz’s popular Power Universe, which returns for its third season on March 17.
On the producing side, Blige has a first-look TV deal with Lionsgate, as well as a first-look non-scripted deal and a second-look scripted deal with BET. She in 2021 worked with Amazon, alongside Oscar-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth, on her documentary Mary J. Blige’s My Life celebrating the 25th anniversary of her famed album My Life, of which she was the focus and EP.
Blige has also recently been seen starring opposite Jennifer Hudson in Liesl Tommy’s Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect. She is repped by APA.
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