×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Steve McQueen Teams with Harry Belafonte on Paul Robeson Biopic

“12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen is teaming with Harry Belafonte to produce a Paul Robeson biopic.

McQueen made the disclosure Monday night at the Hidden Heroes tribute event in New York, saying that he had wanted to make a Robeson movie for the past six years.

“His life and legacy was the film I wanted to make the second after ‘Hunger,'” McQueen said at the event, covered by The Guardian. “But I didn’t have the power, I didn’t have the juice.”

The New York event is held by the Andrew Goodman Foundation, named after one of the civil rights workers killed in Mississippi in 1964.

McQueen, a London native, first became aware of Robeson when reading a newspaper story about the activist supporting miners in Wales. He also said Belafonte, 87, is involved in an undisclosed capacity. The pair met earlier this year at the New York Film Critics awards.

Four Stars International has been attempting in recent years to mount a Robeson biopic. Vondie Curtis-Hall and South African director Darrell Roodt have been attached to helm and David Harewood was on board at one point to play the lead.

Robeson, born in 1898, was a singer, actor and orator from the 1920s through the 1950s best known for his acting in “Othello” and his singing of “Ol’ Man River.” Robeson’s political activism brought him to the attention of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, leading to the revocation of his passport for eight years despite his contributions as an entertainer to the Allied forces during WWII.

Popular on Variety

Robeson died in 1976.

McQueen was nominated for the directing Oscar for “12 Years a Slave.” He was also a producer on film, which won the Best Picture Oscar, along with Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, jeremy Kleiner and Anthony Katagas.

 

 

 

 

More Film

  • Australia' s Oscar contender BuoyancyC

    Rod Rathjen on Why Human Trafficking Tale 'Buoyancy' Had to be Made as Fiction

    Australian Rod Rathjen’s first film as director, “Buoyancy” is a powerful dramatization of human trafficking within Thailand’s offshore fishing fleet. Shot largely in Khmer and Thai, and selected as Australia’s foreign-language Oscar contender, it may also be a role model for cultural sensitivity and activism. The film plays this week in competition at the International [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho Talks 'Parasite' on

    'Parasite' Director Bong Joon Ho Makes Late Night Debut Following Three Globe Nominations

    “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho sat down for his first U.S. late-night appearance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” Monday night. The director, who received best director and best original screenplay Globen Globe nominations with co-writer Han Jin Won, plus a best foreign language nod Monday morning, did not give much away about the film’s [...]

  • The Cold Blue

    Erik Nelson Wants to Preserve the Past With 'The Cold Blue' World War II Documentary

    Erik Nelson describes his documentary “The Cold Blue” as “the garage band of movies” — he didn’t have the large team or crew other documentary contenders have. “The Cold Blue” is a World War II documentary that looks at raids and B-17 bombing missions that took place during the war. Nelson’s team looked at 34 [...]

  • Ray Manzarek

    Film News Roundup: Concert-Documentary 'The Doors: Break on Thru' Set for February

    In today’s film news roundup, one-night showings of a Ray Manzarek tribute and the season premiere of “Doctor Who” have been set for 2020, and the MPAA hires a copyright expert. ONE-NIGHT SHOWINGS The Doors and Trafalgar Releasing are teaming on the worldwide Feb. 12 release of “The Doors: Break on Thru – A Celebration [...]

  • Richard Jewell

    Warner Bros. Hits Back at Atlanta Paper Over 'Richard Jewell' Legal Threat

    Warner Bros. is standing behind “Richard Jewell,” the Clint Eastwood drama that is the source of controversy over its portrayal of a female journalist trading sex for scoops. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sent a legal threat to the filmmakers on Monday asking them to include a disclaimer noting that the film took dramatic license. In a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content