Helmer Julie Dash has signed on to direct an upcoming biopic on Rosa Parks, which will center on the decade before her seminal moment on a Montgomery bus, when Parks, already an activist of her time, sought justice for 24-year-old wife and mother Recy Taylor, who was brutally gang-raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944.
The project hails from Invisible Pictures with Audrey Rosenberg (I Am Not Your Negro) and Jess Jacobs producing for the company along with Gary Riotto and Rachel Watanabe-Batton. The film is based on the book At the Dark End of the Street by Danielle McGuire, which Lisa Jones (HBO’s Disappearing Acts) adapted as a screenplay.
Said Rosenberg, “[The producers] were inspired by the book and how Danielle framed black women’s collective actions, reactions, resistance to sexual violence and oppression, but more importantly their agency and how they sparked the civil rights movement.”
Dash was brought on to direct having had experience with telling the story of the civil rights activist. She directed the 2002 CBS TV movie The Rosa Parks Story, which starred Angela Bassett.
“I jumped at the opportunity to dive head first back into the Rosa Parks story,” Dash told Deadline. “Doing the CBS movie, I realized that there was so much more to her life, legacy, and her activism that we didn’t have time in one [movie]. It was fascinating and just as dramatic as the Montgomery bus boycott, which is what she’s known for, but there is so much more.”
Per Dash, the film will not only center on Park’s efforts, but also the many other female activists who banded together to defend Taylor and demand justice for the crime (the perpetrators were never arrested, and Taylor’s case was dismissed).
“This is a great opportunity to revisit Jo Anne Robinson, Claudette Colvin, Recy Taylor, all the people who never really make it into The Rosa Parks Story,” Dash said. “It’s an ensemble cast of feisty activists who changed the course of history” and laid the foundation for future civil rights demonstrations.
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SOURCE: Deadline, Amanda N’Duka