Denzel Washington is producing the film and its a project he has long spoke about in development to Deadline with the original plan for nine of Wilsons plays to be movies on HBO. That deal was moved over to Netflix.
Viola Davis, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for her work in Washingtons adaptation of Wilsons Fences, will star in Ma Rainey along with Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo and Michael Potts. The project reteams Davis and Washington on their third Wilson endeavor after starring in both the 2010 Broadway revival of Fences and the 2016 film version, which he directed and also earned three Oscar noms. Davis and Washington both won Tony Awards for their roles.
Production starts next month in Pittsburgh.
Multiple Tony and DGA award winning director George C. Wolfe will helm Ma Rainey with Todd Black and Dany Wolf producing alongside Washington. Ruben Santiago-Hudson is adapt Wilsons play for Netflix. Constanza Romero will serve as EP. Oscar winning Ann Roth is set as the costume designer with Branford Marsalis composing.
Ma Rainey follows the “Queen of the Blues,” as she makes a record in a studio in Chicago, 1927, tensions boil between her, her white agent and producer, and bandmates.
As Washington told Deadline co-Editor-in-Chief Mike Fleming, Jr. back in 2017, it was always his plan to produce the Wilson canon, not direct or star. Ma Rainey was always planned to be the next feature adaptation after Paramounts Fences which made over $64M at the global box office.
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