Jay-Z and Will Smith are teaming with Aaron Kaplan to produce an HBO miniseries about Emmett Till, the African American teenager who was tragically and brutally murdered in 1955 for reportedly asking a white woman on a date.
After allegedly flirting with a 21-year-old white co-owner of a Mississippi grocery store, Carolyn Bryant, Till was killed when Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, showed up at the house of the 14-year-old teen’s great uncle and took him away, gouged out one of his eyes, shot him in the head and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s family had an open-casket funeral so everyone could see the brutal attack on his body.
Jay Brown and James Lassiter will also serve as exec producers, alongside Jay-Z, Smith and Kaplan. Kaplan originally pitched the idea to the A-list duo, who immediately jumped at the chance to tell the story. No writer is attached to the miniseries yet, which will likely run six hours.
The untitled project, which hails from Kapital Entertainment, Overbrook Entertainment and Roc Nation, marks a reunion between Jay-Z and Smith, who were both producers on the 2014 feature remake of “Annie.”
The miniseries also serves as a homecoming of sorts to HBO for Jay-Z, as the cabler aired his concert special with his wife, “On the Run Tour: Beyoncé and Jay Z.”
In 2003 PBS produced an investigatory documentary on the Till case, “The Murder of Emmett Till.”
Got the drop at Variety . . .