×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Moll will tell Till tale

Project will be based on victim's mother's memoir

Documaker James Moll is set to make his dramatic debut with a feature about Emmett Till, the 14-year-old whose 1955 murder by Mississippi racists for whistling at a white woman became a catalyst for the civil rights movement.

State Street Pictures partners Robert Teitel and George Tillman Jr. will produce.

Project is based on “Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America,” a memoir written by Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, and Christopher Benson. Benson wrote a script with David Barr and Raymond Thomas that tells the story from the vantage point of Till Mobley, who died in 2003.

Moll directed Oscar-winning docu “The Last Days” and is a founding exec director of the Shoah Foundation, working for a decade with Steven Spielberg to preserve on video the reminiscences of Holocaust survivors. Till Mobley enlisted him after she was invited by Spielberg to tell her own story on camera for the Shoah Foundation.

Till was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he was abducted and murdered. Roy Bryant (whose wife Till allegedly whistled at) and his half-brother J.W. Milam were acquitted and then accepted $5,000 to admit to Look magazine that they tortured and murdered the youth.

Till’s grieving mother “contacted the press and allowed photographers to take pictures of her son’s battered body,” Moll said. An estimated 100,000 people viewed the open casket in Chicago, which amounted to the biggest civil rights demonstration to that point.

“Her actions after his death became pivotal in the civil rights movement,” Moll said. “Rosa Parks told her she was thinking of Emmett when she made her stand on the bus. All Mamie ever wanted was some acknowledgement from the state of Mississippi that they had done wrong. She died waiting for that.”

Teitel and Tillman, who have a first look deal at Fox, have just submitted the script to Searchlight.

Last year, the FBI reopened the Till case and earlier this month federal investigators exhumed the teen’s body to determine if DNA or other evidence might shed light on the murder or determine a cause of death.

More Film

  • Halloween

    Movies Featured More Female Protagonists in 2018, But It's Not All Good News (Study)

    “Halloween,” “A Star is Born,” and “Crazy Rich Asians” made headlines for featuring strong roles for women, but even though the number of female film protagonists hit a high in 2018, the movie industry still offered its juiciest parts to men. At a time when Hollywood is under pressure to become more inclusive and is [...]

  • Colin Farrell Dumbo

    Colin Farrell To Star in Andrew Haigh's BBC Two Thriller 'The North Water'

    Colin Farrell is set to star in “The North Water,” the BBC Two thriller which will be directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Andrew Haigh (“Lean on Pete”). Based on Ian McGuire’s novel, the four-part series is being adapted by Haigh and produced by See-Saw Films for BBC Two. Set in the U.K. and in the [...]

  • New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to

    New Fox Appoints Wayne Borg to Los Angeles Studio Role

    Wayne Borg, who has headed the Fox Studios Australia operations in Sydney for the past four years, has been appointed president and general manager of studios at New Fox. He will relocate from Australia to Los Angeles. Fox Studios Australia, which is to remain part of 21st Century Fox and will become part of Disney [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Keira Knightly as "Rachael Morgan" in

    Film Review: Keira Knightley in 'The Aftermath'

    Less widely seen (and acclaimed) than it deserved to be, James Kent’s debut feature “Testament of Youth” was one of the great recent love-in-wartime dramas, translating the intimate romance and sprawling human tragedy of Vera Brittain’s WWI memoir with a grace and heft worthy of its David Lean allusions. Four years on, it’s not hard [...]

  • Inside Amazon's New Feature Film Strategy

    Amazon's New Film Strategy: Straight-to-Service Titles and Starry Sundance Buys

    It was close to midnight when Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke got the text. The company had failed in its quest to acquire “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” a body image dramedy that captivated Salke when she saw it at Sundance. A sales agent on the project messaged her to say that a competitor offered a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content