It has been announced that Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, Sparkle), is set to produce a feature film based on the life of Harriet Tubman with Charles King and his production company MACRO titled Harriet
The extraordinary life and contribution of the icon Harriet Tubman does not need an introduction on this platform. Tubman escaped slavery in the south during the 1800’s and returned countless times to rescue both family members and non-relatives from plantations in the south. She led hundreds of African Americans to freedom by traveling 90 miles to the North and made history as one of the main “conductors” of the Underground Railroad, an elaborate secret network of safe houses organized for that purpose. She was an abolitionist, an activist, and an advocate for racial and gender equality.
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” – Harriet Tubman
Just last week, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Tubman will replace slave owner Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 bill, and will make history yet again by being the first African American on U.S. currency.
“To have a woman of color who had such a significant role in redefining freedom and America fulfilling its promise of independence is really exciting. Having someone like Harriet Tubman signifies that Americans are finally recognizing the contributions of women and African Americans to building our nation.” – Catherine Clinton, Author of Harriet Tubman The Road to Freedom
Tubman has played a major part in the evolution of our history; however, her story has not yet been depicted on the big screen. Last year, Emmy Award winning actress Viola Davis announced that she would be developing an HBO telepic about Tubman’s life with Amblin TV and writer Kirk Ellis who is known for writing historical HBO original films such as the John Adams miniseries. The feature will be an adaptation of the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larson. Ironically Davis and King have partnered on the feature film adaptation of the August Wilson play Fences to be directed by Denzel Washington, who will also star in the film. The only time that Tubman’s life was portrayed on screen was in 1978 when Emmy Award winning actress Cicely Tyson portrayed Tubman in the NBC television miniseries, A Woman Called Moses.
The script for Harriet will be written by Gregory Allen Howard (Ali, Remember the Titans) and the film will be directed by Seith Mann (Homeland, The Wire, Friday Night Lights, The Walking Dead). In addition to King, Martin Chase, and Howard, New Balloon’s Daniela Taplin Lundberg along with MACRO president of production Kim Roth will also serve as producers. Elizabeth Koch and Kristina Kendall are executive producing alongside Macro’s Poppy Hanks and Bill Benenson (Beasts of No Nation).
In addition to this project, Martin Chase is in the process of developing an ABC miniseries alongside Gail Lumet Buckley, daughter of the legendary entertainer Lena Horn, titled The Black Calhouns: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American Family, about six generations of the Buckley family, detailing the experiences of the extraordinary African American family from the beginning of Reconstruction through the civil rights movement. She is also working on a legal drama for TNT titled Conviction alongside Viola Davis and Ayanna Floyd (Empire) inspired by Kym Worthy, the second African American to serve as a county prosecutor in Michigan, and chief prosecutor in Wayne County, Michigan aka “the toughest woman in Detroit.”
Charles King‘s MACRO is a multi-platform media company that focuses on creating premium content for African American, Latino and multicultural audiences. King left William Morris Endeavor (WME) a little over a year ago to produce film and television projects targeting African American, Latino and multicultural audiences. Macro is gearing up for production for the film adaptation of the August Wilson play Fences, and is currently in development on a post-World II drama with Dee Rees (Bessie, Pariah). MACRO is also developing a television series with Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale) and Chinaka Hodge.