Emmett Till Movie in the Works From Roger Ebert’s Widow, Chaz Ebert

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This year will mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago, who was murdered while visiting relatives in Money, Miss. Six decades since Till was wrongly persecuted and unjustly punished for a crime which did not exist, his story still evokes strong feelings about prejudice acts of violence. With headlines stretching from Ferguson, Mo. to Baltimore, Md. and all over the U.S., the tension couldn’t be higher. A story like Till’s is as prevalent today as it was 60 years ago. It’s seems fitting that a movie adaptation would make its way to the big screen surrounding all the controversy. And with today’s news, audiences can expect it to arrive very soon.

Shatterglass Films and Chaz Ebert, the wife of the late film critic Roger Ebert, are teaming up to tell Till’s story through an adaptation of Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America. The book tells the life of the young teenager, and was co-written by his mother and journalist Christopher Benson. It was nominated for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize.

Till’s tragic ending came after he had reportedly flirted with 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, a married white proprietor of a small grocery store in the Mississippi Delta. Bryant’s husband along with his half-brother responded by kidnapping Till and murdering him after brutally torturing him. After his mother insisted on including images of her son’s body in newspapers, his 1955 murder made international news and provided a startling image for the Civil Rights Movement.

Speaking about the adaptation, Ebert remarked on the significance of the story. “The full Emmett Till story needs to be told now and told well as a narrative for our times given all that is happening on American streets today and Shatterglass Films are the people to tell it.”

Luke Boyce, Brett Hays and Jen Shelby are set to produce for Shatterglass with Benson also producing. Ebert and Nate Kohn will executive produce. The film will wrap principal photography sometime next year with shooting scheduled to take place in Chicago, the Mississippi Delta and central Illinois.

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