Emmy winning actress Viola Davis and two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington, are set to star in a film adaptation of August Wilson’s Fences through Paramount Pictures. Washington will also be directing this project, and will begin shooting later this month in Pittsburgh. Six years ago, Washington and Davis starred in the Broadway revival of Fences, and following a 13-week run, the production went on to receive 10 Tony nominations, winning three for Best Revival, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
“This important and beloved play has been a passion of Denzel’s for many years and it is with great excitement that we embark together to bring his dream project to the big screen.” – Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures
The American classic play Fences was written in 1983 by playwright August Wilson (who died in 2005), and explores the African American experience by examining race relations among other themes. The play revolves around the story of a one-time promising baseball player, Troy Maxson, now working as a Pittsburgh garbage collector, and the complicated relationships with his wife, son, and friends. Fences won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, and went on to win a Tony that same year.
The play was was a huge success, and Wilson was allegedly approached by Paramount about potentially making a film adaptation in the 80’s; however, Wilson was only willing to move forward with the film if a black director was attached. This stalled production until now of course, with Washington in front of and behind the lens.
The film’s cast also includes; Stephen Henderson, who was in the Broadway revival, Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump), Jovan Adepo (The Leftovers) and Saniyya Sidney.
Washington will also be producing this project alongside Scott Rudin and Todd Black. Executive producers are Macro’s Charles King, Kim Roth along with co-executive producer Poppy Hanks in addition to Eli Bush, Bron Creative’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth, and Andy Pollack.
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 currently has a post World War II drama in development with Dee Rees (Bessie, Pariah) in addition to a television series in development with Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale) and Chinaka Hodge.