Native Son 3.0: HBO Films Reboots and Reimagines Wright’s Classic Novel (Trailer)
Premium cable mainstay turned cinematic art house, HBO, is slated to premiere a reboot of Richard Wright’s quintessential colored coming-of-age/ protest novel, Native Son, on April 5, 2019. HBO picked up director Rashid Johnson’s contemporary interpretation of the classic tale before it screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
From HBO’s press release:
Native Son, based on Richard Wright’s seminal novel of the same name, has been acquired by HBO Films to premiere later this year. The modern reimagining of Wright’s 1930’s-set coming-of-age drama follows Bigger Thomas, a young African-American man who takes a job working for a highly influential Chicago family — a decision that changes the course of his life.
Native Son is directed by first-time filmmaker Rashid Johnson and penned by Pulitzer-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks. Ashton Sanders of Moonlight will lead as Bigger Thomas, alongside Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) as Mary Dalton, Nick Robinson as Jan Erlone, KiKi Layne as Bessie, Elizabeth Marvel as Mrs. Dalton, David Alan Grier as Marty, Sanaa Lathan as Trudy Thomas, and Bill Camp (The Night Of) as Henry Dalton.
This is not the first time that Richard Wright’s critically-acclaimed novel was adapted for the silver screen. The first version, directed by Pierre Chenal, was released in 1951. Not only did Richard Wright pen the screenplay for this production himself, but he was cast in the starring role as Bigger Thomas. In 1986, a second version of the film was released in theaters; starring Oprah Winfrey, Matt Dillon, Elizabeth McGovern, and Victor Love as “Bigger Thomas”.
Thirty-three years later, a new generation is introduced to the political propaganda masterpiece that is Native Son. Will director Rashid Johnson stick to Wright’s original objective of shaking up the staunch and steadfast of an elitist status quo? Given America’s current politically juxtaposed landscape, a modern retelling of Native Son’s racial/ socio-economic commentary might be exactly what society needs and demands right now.
Watch the trailer below and share your thoughts. Will you watch? What do you think about the latest adaptation? Do we need this film?