EXCLUSIVE: Legendary has made a deal with Black Panther and Creed director Ryan Coogler to produce the comic book series adaptation Bitter Root, alongside Zinzi Evans and Sev Ohanian. They will spearhead the development of a screen adaptation of the Image Comics series created by David F. Walker & Sanford Greene and indie veteran Chuck Brown.
Set during the vibrant Harlem Renaissance of 1924, Bitter Root focuses on a fractured family of once-great monster hunters who must face an unimaginable evil that descends upon New York City. For generations, the Sangeryes have hunted and cured those infected by a supernatural force that feeds off the prejudice of the era, transforming human beings into hideous monsters. But their heyday has faded and with most of the family dead, and the surviving Sangeryes at odds between saving or killing these creatures, the remaining Sangeryes must overcome the wounds of the past in the hopes of thwarting the invasion.
Legendary acquired the rights to turn the comic into a movie last March. Image Comics has published five issues of the series to date, with the fifth issue being released on March 20, 2019. The series has an average 9.2 critic rating and 8.7 user rating on Comicbook Round Up and is one of the imprint’s bestsellers; the first issue was so wildly popular it had to be rushed back to print just two days after its release. Bitter Root received nominations for a 2019 Eisner Award for Best New Series and a 2019 Ringo award for Best Series. Walker, Greene, Brown and Drapetomedia’s Sean Owolo will executive produce, and Jon Silk and Disney Hall will oversee the project for Legendary.
Coogler, who’s repped by WME, is a producer on the LeBron James-starrer Space Jam 2, and he’s writing and directed the Black Panther sequel for Marvel for release in 2022. Coogler made his directing debut on Fruitvale Station, which he scripted, and he followed by co-writing and directing Creed before moving over the Best Picture-nominated Black Panther and serving as exec producer of Creed II.
Evans is Coogler’s wife and she has become growingly active in producing projects with him. Ohanian co-produced Fruitvale Station and most recently the Sundance sleeper hit Searching and is exec producer on Space Jam 2. He’s repped by CAA.