Cheo Hodari Coker to Write Forty Acres Film Adaptation for Netflix; James Lassiter and Jay-Z Producing

Cheo Hodari Coker, left, attends the 2018 The Root 100 gala on November 8, 2018; James Lassiter attends the “Lakeview Terrace” premiere on September 15, 2008; Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020.
Cheo Hodari Coker, left, attends the 2018 The Root 100 gala on November 8, 2018; James Lassiter attends the “Lakeview Terrace” premiere on September 15, 2008; Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020.
Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty Images (Getty Images), Bryan Bedder/Getty Images (Getty Images), Erik Voake/Getty Images for Roc Nation (Getty Images)

Luke Cage creator Cheo Hodari Coker is set to write the film adaptation script for Forty Acres, based on the novel of the same name by Dwayne Alexander Smith. The film is in early development at Netflix and will be produced by James Lassiter, Jay-Z, Aaron Kaplan (Kapital Entertainment), Niles Kirchner and Bill Strauss. Dana Honor (Kapital) will executive produce with Mike Epps and Smith.

Here’s the synopsis scoop via Deadline:

Forty Acres follows a civil rights attorney who must fight for survival when he’s invited to join an elite Black organization with a mind-blowing secret; the thriller is described as being a cross between The Firm and Get Out.

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For those unfamiliar with the novel, the attorney is Martin Grey and the “mind-blowing secret” is a switcheroo on white supremacy. From the novel’s page on publisher Simon & Schuster’s (the novel’s publisher Atria Books is a division of Simon & Schuster) website:

Martin finds out that his glittering new friends are part of a secret society dedicated to the preservation of the institution of slavery—but this time around, the Black men are called “Master.” Joining them seems to guarantee a future without limits; rebuking them almost certainly guarantees his death. Trapped inside a picture-perfect, make-believe world that is home to a frightening reality, Martin must find a way out that will allow him to stay alive without becoming the very thing he hates.

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Wow.

“A thriller in a class by itself—brilliant and scary!” New York Times bestselling novelist Terry McMillan said about the book.

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Lassiter and Jay-Z are also teaming up to produce the recently announced all-Black western, The Harder They Fall, starring Idris Elba, Regina King, Jonathan Majors, Lakeith Stanfield and pretty much every acclaimed Black actor in existence, which is pretty damn dope, especially in that genre.

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In addition to creating (as well as show-running and executive producing) Luke Cage, Coker inked an overall deal with Amazon Studios in 2018. As for further upcoming projects, the NAACP Image Award winner (Southland) is currently writing Diary of a Trap God, which is based on Gucci Mane’s autobiography of the same name. Coker is also writing the sequel to Four Brothers, which premiered in 2005.

“Happy to finally report…” Smith, who won the 2015 NAACP Image Award in the Best Debut Novel category for Forty Acres, wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday along with the news from Deadline.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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