We will never forget the image of Emmett Louis Till’s grotesquely disfigured face, after his mother Mamie Till Mobley decided to intentionally leave his casket open so the nation could reckon with the hateful evil that caused it. Additionally, we shall never forget the stark pain on her face as she stood over her son’s casket.
That image of Till, as well as Mobley’s pursuit of justice, helped lead to the start of the civil rights movement. According to Deadline, a feature film focused on Mobley’s relentless fight is coming soon with Chinonye Chukwu directing. The news was announced on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the torture and lynching of 14-year-old Till, which occurred on August 28, 1955.
Chukwu’s profile is already pretty established, as she became the first Black woman to win the Grand Jury prize at Sundance Film Festival for her acclaimed feature Clemency (which is currently available to watch on Hulu).
Deadline provides more details on the upcoming film:
The film is based on the extensive research of award-winning documentarian Keith Beauchamp and his relationship with Mamie Till Mobley and Emmett Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright. [The] latter was an eyewitness to the kidnapping of Till and served as a consultant to the project before his death in 2017. For more than 27 years, Beauchamp has investigated the kidnapping, torture and murder of Emmett Till, allegedly for whistling at a white woman. His efforts succeeded in getting the United States Department of Justice to reopen the case in 2004. Beauchamp’s research formed the basis for the original screenplay he co-authored with Michael J P Reilly and Chinonye Chukwu.
“I am deeply honored to be telling this story and working with such an incredible producing team,” Chukwu said in a statement. “Amidst the pain and brutality that is inherent to Mamie and Emmett’s story, I intend to delve deeply into their humanities, the love and joy they shared, and the activist consciousness that grows within Mamie as she seeks justice for her son.”
Along with Beauchamp, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Broccoli, Thomas K. Levine, Michael J. P. Reilly, and Frederick Zollo will be producing the film.
“Today the return of open racism reminds us that the real danger is in NOT telling Emmett Till’s story,” Goldberg said. “Chinonye Chukwu taking the helm as our director is an opportunity for us to step forward artfully and without fear to tell the truth. We could not be in better hands.”
Production for the upcoming film is set to begin in 2021, which will be the year of Till’s 80th birthday.