Skydance Television has acquired the rights to P. Djéli Clark’s novella Ring Shout in a competitive situation. Kasi Lemmons (Harriet, Eve’s Bayou) is set to serve as showrunner and will write and direct the television series based on the historical fantasy while Kiki Layne (The Old Guard, If Beale Street Could Talk) is set to star.
The studio will develop Ring Shout, which follows an otherworldly evil that has risen in the 1920s South in the form of monsters who take up residence within the bodies of people filled with hate — namely the Ku Klux Klan. D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation is helping to swell the Klan’s ranks and the monsters are drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of racism.
Across the nation, they spread fear and violence. But even monsters can die. Standing in their way is a young Black woman, Maryse Boudreaux, and her two friends and fellow resistance fighters – a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. But something even bigger is brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up. And Maryse, haunted by events of her past, is the only one who can put a stop to it all.
Based on the synopsis, this new series is definitely giving off Lovecraft Country energy — and we all know how that became a TV obsession for audiences. Clark, Lemmons, Layne will also serve as executive producers alongside Marc Evans, Matt Jackson and Skydance Television’s David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Bill Bost.
In addition to the groundbreaking Eve’s Bayou and Harriet, Lemmons also directed episodes of Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, Luke Cage and Shots Fired. She also created the stage adaptation of Charles Blow’s New York Times bestselling memoir Fire Shut up in My Bones along with Academy-Award nominated composer Terrence Blanchard, for the Opera Theater of Saint Louis.
Layne recently starred alongside Charlize Theron in the Skydance-produced Netflix action pic The Old Guard. She starred in Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk and was seen in HBO’s Native Son, starring opposite Ashton Sanders, Margaret Qualley and Nick Robinson. Layne can also be seen opposite Julianne Moore in Luca Guadagnino’s short film The Staggering Girl that premiered in Cannes last May. Up next for the actress is Amazon’s Coming 2 America She is currently filming the Olivia Wilde-directed psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling.
P. Djéli Clark has also written The Black God’s Drums and The Haunting of Tram Car 015. His short stories have appeared in online speculative venues and print anthologies, and his debut novel, A Master of Djinn, will be published in May 2021 by Tor.com.
Ring Shout is the latest priority development in the works at Skydance Television. The studio is currently working on a spy adventure series starring and executive produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger from creator Nick Santora; a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama from Lewaa Nasserdeen; and Hotel del Luna from Alison Schapker. Skydance Television has entered into overall deals with producers David S. Goyer, Alison Schapker and Nick Santora as well as showrunners Olivia Purnell and Nasserdeen. Skydance’s television slate includes Grace and Frankie, Altered Carbon, Condor, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Foundation and Jack Reacher.