EXCLUSIVE: Michael B. Jordan is heading to HBO Max…with some style. The Black Panther actor and Alana Mayo are developing the comedy Fashionably Black (wt) under their Outlier Society production banner alongside HBO Max, which is set to launch their streaming service in 2020. The feature film will be penned by Christa Gatewood and Robin Thede (A Black Lady Sketch Show), who will also serve as executive producer. Outlier Society’s Khaliah Neal is also set to executive produce.
Set in the world of haute couture, the comedy explores what happens when you actually put a black woman at the top spot in fashion. The film will follow viral sensation Zoe Bankole who, after becoming the industry’s first and only black woman creative director for a French haute couture house, must contend with short deadlines, petty rivals and attempts at whitewashing her style in order to create the collection of her dreams.
Considering the history of appropriation and racist actions of certain fashion houses, the film seems is on point with its plan to address the relationship of race and the fashion industry. Earlier this year, Dior was put on blast for using Native American culture and imagery for their fragrance Sauvage. In addition, Gucci was also called out for a blatantly racist blackface turtle neck — but that wasn’t the first instance of blackface in the fashion industry. Prada created blackface keychains and Moncler used blackface on their coats. H&M was also dragged for using a black child to model a monkey sweater. Since then, Ava DuVernay was called in by Prada to head their Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council while legendary designer Dapper Dan was called upon by Gucci (who he has worked with before on a capsule collection) to right their wrongs. That said, Fashionably Black should be interesting.
Outlier Society’s first big studio feature Just Mercy bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival in September to awards season buzz and is set for wide release on December 25. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Jordan and Jamie Foxx, the Warner Bros. film is based on the memoir by attorney and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson.
The production company recently signed a first-look film deal with Warner Bros Studios and a first-look television deal with Amazon Studios. They recently acquired Kingdom of Souls, the first installment of a fantasy novel trilogy by Rena Barron. In addition to Fashionably Black, their slate of upcoming projects include Paramount Pictures’ Without Remorse, based on the Tom Clancy series; an untitled original monster movie from Jordan Vogt-Roberts; the Warner Bros. thriller Methusaleh; an adaptation of the fantasy novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf; and WWII action drama The Liberators.
Jordan and Outlier Society are repped by WME, attorney Greg Slewett, and Rogers & Cowan. Thede and Gatewood are represented by WME and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.