A powerful new adaptation of Richard Wright’s classic 1940 novel Native Son is coming to HBO in early April, and the pay-cable channel shared a gripping new trailer for the film Thursday, which you can watch down below.
The feature directorial debut of acclaimed visual artist Rashid Johnson, Native Son stars Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders as Bigger Thomas, a young African-American man living in Chicago who is hired as a chauffeur for a powerful white family, changing the course of his life forever.
Emmy nominee Bill Camp (The Night Of) plays Will Dalton, the affluent businessman at the head of said family, while Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) plays his daughter Mary, with whom Bigger enters a precarious relationship. Nick Robinson (Love, Simon), KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), Elizabeth Marvel (Homeland), David Alan Grier (The Big Sick) and Sanaa Lathan (Nappily Ever After) round out the film’s cast.
As seen in the trailer, Bigger feels he has all the potential in the world, and though he’s a self-styled punk, he resists the pull of a life of crime, holding out for the right move. When the opportunity to drive for the Daltons falls into his lap, the salary makes for an offer he can’t refuse, but Mary’s careless behavior puts Bigger in a terrible position. There’s a crushing reason Wright’s novel remains so relevant all these years later: Little has changed.
Native Son, adapted by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog), premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Early critical responses have been mixed, skewing slightly positive, with many critics singling out Sanders’ performance for acclaim.
The film is a co-presentation of HBO and A24, executive produced by Stephanie Meurer, and produced by Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman of Bow and Arrow Entertainment.
Native Son debuts Saturday, April 6, at 10 p.m. ET on HBO. Watch the new trailer below.