EXCLUSIVE: Paramount is in talks to acquire Power to the People, a package that has George Tillman Jr committed to direct a period drama about the formation of the Black Panthers. Script is by Gregory Allen, who scripted the recent release Harriet about Harriet Tubman and the formation of the Underground Railroad, and Remember the Titans.
The film tells the story of the revolutionary relationship of Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, who founded the Black Panthers originally to protest police brutality against African Americans. It became a global movement and an important part of the civil rights movement. That put them in the crosshairs of FBI leader J Edgar Hoover and the U.S. government, which considered them a radical movement and deemed them the single greatest threat to the nation’s security. Pic is based on the Stanley Nelson-directed documentary Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
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Tillman Jr, who last directed The Hate U Give, will produce with Ben Affleck. Madison Ainley is exec producer and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni is associate producer. Nelson is expected to be involved in a producing capacity and Paramount’s Bryan Oh will steer the project.
It becomes yet another intriguing period project for Paramount, which has been aggressive under Jim Gianopulos and production president Wyck Godfrey. On the period pic front, studio just acquired Babylon, the Damien Chazelle-directed period Hollywood drama that will star Emma Stone and Brad Pitt. That comes on the heels of a deal for The Bee Gees movie that Bohemian Rhapsody and The Two Popes scribe Anthony McCarten is writing for Paramount, Sister Amblin and GK Films. Before that, Paramount and Cross Creek teamed on Chicago 7, the Aaron Sorkin-directed drama with a strong cast that includes Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton and Sacha Baron Cohen.
CAA and Gotham Group rep Tillman, latter of which also reps Howard along with attorney David Colden.