Emmy winner Anthony Hemingway (Genius, American Crime Story) has signed on to direct a present-day “reimagining” of The Preacher’s Wife, featuring original cast member Courtney B. Vance, for Bassett Vance Productions.
Penny Marshall’s 1996 film, starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Vance, was itself a remake of The Bishop’s Wife, the 1947 film based on Robert Nathan’s book of the same name that starred Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven. It centers on Dudley (Washington), an angel who comes to earth to help preacher Henry Biggs (Vance) and his wife Julia (Houston) save the church and their family. The film endures as a perennial favorite around the holidays; its soundtrack remains the bestselling gospel album of all time.
Hemingway’s version of The Preacher’s Wife will “creatively evolve the story in a new direction,” per BVP’s producing partner Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, while boosting “the musicality” of the storytelling.
Hemingway will produce with Vance and Angela Bassett. Whitney Davis and Kyndra “Binkie” Reevey will exec produce for Anthony Hemingway Productions, with Johnson-Cochran and Lynnette Ramirez on behalf of Bassett Vance Productions. BVP closed its deal with Hemingway after acquiring film rights from Samuel Goldwyn.
“Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. To be re-imagining this classic and beloved holiday story is a gift,” said Hemingway. “When Whitney Davis brought this idea to me, I instinctively called Courtney and we knew instantly that we’d be working together to bring this uplifting story to new audiences. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with my friends Courtney and Angela, as well as our amazing teams at Bassett Vance Productions and Anthony Hemingway Productions.”
“Anthony will bring his distinctive, compelling cinematic style to create a fresh take on this beloved classic, while still maintaining the elements of the film that audiences have loved through the years,” said Ramirez, who serves as BVP’s Head of Development. “We couldn’t be more pleased to be developing this project with Anthony.”
“Anthony is one of the most gifted directors I have ever had the privilege to work with. I’ve often said wherever Anthony goes, I follow. That’s how much trust and confidence I have in him as a visionary and storyteller,” added Vance. “This is a film that I hold close to my heart, and I recognize that countless others feel the same way. That’s why I am thrilled that Anthony and I will be working together to share this uplifting story with a whole new generation.”
Hemingway most recently collaborated with Vance on National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha. He previously collaborated with the actor as a director and producer on The People v. O.J. Simpson, the first season of FX anthology American Crime Story, which earned both Emmys. Hemingway also previously directed the war film Red Tails, along with episodes of series including Power, Shameless, Treme, Underground and The Wire.
Hemingway and AHP are represented by M88, WME and attorney Tom Hoberman. Bassett Vance Productions is repped by Darrell Miller of Fox Rothschild LLP.