Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington to lead feature film adaptation of August Wilson’s ‘The Piano Lesson’ for Netflix
Honorary Oscar winner Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Avengers) and John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Tenet) will lead and all-star cast in the feature film adaptation of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson for Netflix, it was announced this morning. Malcolm Washington is set to direct from a screenplay he co-wrote with Virgil Williams.
Ray Fisher (Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Rebel Moon), Danielle Deadwyler (Till, The Harder They Fall), Michael Potts (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Rustin) and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton, The Tragedy of Macbeth) round out the top tier cast. Two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington (Glory, Training Day) is set to produce as a part of Wilson’s 10 play “American Century Cycle” that includes Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In 2010 Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the revival of August Wilson’s Fences on Broadway where they both won Tony Awards for their roles. In 2016 Washington directed and starred alongside Viola Davis in the film adaptation of Fences which received 3 Academy Awards nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay, and an Academy Award win for Viola Davis. Davis was then nominated for the 2021 film version of Ma Rainey.
Set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression, The Piano Lesson follows the lives of the Charles family in the Doaker Charles household and an heirloom, the family piano, which is decorated with designs carved by an enslaved ancestor.
The Broadway revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson starred Jackson and Washington and recently concluded its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, having played 27 previews and 124 regular performances. The production is the highest grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest grossing Wilson production on Broadway ever.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released globally on Netflix in 2021. The film received five Academy Award nominations (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Costume Design) and two Academy Award wins (Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design). The film was directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and also starred Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown, Jeremy Shamos and Jonny Coyne.
Photos: Art Streiber, Dominic Miller, Imani Khayyam, Dalvin Adams, Celeste Sloman, Fred Duval