EXCLUSIVE: Producer Autumn Bailey-Ford (Through the Glass Darkly, Reach) of Prominent Productions has obtained the film rights to 2019 YA novel I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, written by activist Kimberly Jones and attorney Gilly Segal. Bailey-Ford is producing the project alongside Prominent partner Cameron Burnett as well as Michael Napoliello and Maria Frisk of Radar Pictures, one of the producers behind Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
The timely story, which picked up an NAACP Image Award nomination, focuses on prejudice and the racial tension in America. It follows two teen girls, one Black and one white, who have to confront their own assumptions about racial inequality as they rely on each other to get through the violent race riot that has set their city on fire with civil unrest.
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school. When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos from violence and hate, which unexpectedly throws them together.
“I fell in love with I’m Not Dying With You Tonight when I read it last year,” said Bailey-Ford. The growing friendship between Lena and Campbell was powerful to me. I went through all kinds of emotions when I read this story. I’m excited to work with Radar on bringing Kim and Gilly’s work to the big screen.”
“Our plan is to make a powerful film seen though the younger generation’s viewpoint. We shall take one night showing two teenagers working together to survive a harrowing night of shooting, fights, a riot, looting and their conflicting views on each other, all while trying to get safe and home,” said Burnett.
Jones has been out interviewing people in the crowd during the national police violence protests and was the subject of a viral video, How We Can Win, comparing systemic financial oppression to a fixed game of Monopoly. “I can’t find the words to describe how I feel about the book being made into a film,” she said. “Exploring the “why” involved in civil unrest is non-negotiable in this era and I’m Not Dying With You Tonight is a piece of work that can open the portal to that conversation. I think it was destined to be released in this medium.”
Added Segal, “Working with Prominent Productions and Radar Pictures to make I’m Not Dying With You Tonight into a film is thrilling. I’m honored to have this material in their hands and inspired by their passion for bringing the project to the screen. I hope adapting the novel for film will offer people another means to explore and talk about the themes raised in the book and that the conversations it sparks reach new audiences.”