After months of project secrecy, Lionsgate has just released a teaser trailer for Janelle Monáe’s upcoming screen project: Antebellum, an eerie thriller rooted in the Deep South and chained to the region’s plantation past.
Details are scant but the single-sentence synopsis describes Monáe character as “successful author Veronica Henley, who finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late.”
The teaser suggests that mind-bending mystery involves a plantation and some supernatural connection that links its preserved present-day finery and its ominous 19th century history of slave exploitation and violence.
Written and directed by the newcomers Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, the April 24 release also stars Eric Lange, Jena Malone, Jack Huston, Kiersey Clemons, Tongayi Chirisa, Gabourey Sidibe, Robert Aramayo, Lily Cowles, and Marque Richardson. Bush + Renz have garnered attention for campaigns with the MLK Memorial Foundation and Amnesty International, as well as directing Jay-Z’s politically charged music video “Kill Jay-Z.”
Deadline exclusively reported the existence of the project in March and filming got underway the following month. The project marks the feature film directorial debut for the Bush + Renz tandem. The producers of Antebellum are Gerard Bush, Christopher Renz, Raymond Mansfield, Sean McKittrick, Zev Foreman, and Lezlie Wills.
Monáe, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, is already having a big year. The Moonlight actress plays Peg in the just-arrived Disney+ live-action version of Lady and the Tramp and stars in Focus Features’ Harriet. She is also playing Dorothy Pitman Hughes in The Glorias: A Life on the Road and has a lead role in upcoming animated project Ugly Dolls.
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