American Gods producer Fremantle secured the rights to the book and will produce in conjunction with Wolf Hall producer Playground Entertainment.
Wolfe has received plaudits for directing Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the feature film based on the August Wilson play starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman that was released in November on Netflix. Wolfe is in talks to write and direct the project, which is going out to broadcasters and platforms shortly.
The book, written in 1977, tells the story of Macon ‘Milkman’ Dead III, a Black man living in Michigan.
Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric – Robert Smith, an insurance salesman and member of The Seven Days, an organization that kills white people in retaliation for the racial killing of Black people – hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. The book follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, featuring an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized Black world.
The novel won the National Book Critics Circle Award, was chosen for Oprah Winfrey’s popular book club, and was cited by the Swedish Academy in awarding Morrison the 1993 Nobel Prize in literature.
Wolfe is set to exec produce alongside Playground Entertainment’s Colin Callender, Scott Huff and David Stern.
Wolfe is represented by CAA and Loeb & Loeb.