The film, titled “Till,” will go into production early next year. In addition to Goldberg, Beauchamp and Zollo, producers also include Thomas K. Levine, Paul Kurta and Susan Rose.
Till, 14, was tortured and lynched on Aug. 28, 1955, after reportedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Money, Miss. His murder ignited the Civil Rights Movement.
“Till” will be based on Beauchamp’s 2004 documentary “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till,” and Simeon Wright’s “Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till.” Beauchamp’s film led the U.S. government to reopen the Till case in 2007.
Producers are launching a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds for the production.
“Here is a story that is as much a part of American history as the Boston Tea Party and may stand as the greatest argument for getting rid of sanctioned racism,” Goldberg said. “Emmett Till’s brutal death at the hands of ignorant, brutish people exposes the Jim Crow-era South that gave the implicit OK to uphold that kind of racism without any real fear of repercussions. Today, the return of rampant, unchallenged racism cries out for the telling of Emmett Till’s story again.”
Zollo produced Civil Rights dramas “Mississippi Burning” and “Ghosts of Mississippi.” Goldberg starred in the latter film.
Two other Till projects were announced in May: Skyland Pictures and FireRock Bay Pictures are producing an Emmett Till movie based on the play “The Face of Emmett Till,” and Shatterglass Films and Chaz Ebert are developing a film based on the book “Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America.” Jay Z and Will Smith are also developing an HBO miniseries based on Till’s life with Aaron Kaplan.