×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Octavia Spencer to Executive Produce Anti-Slavery Movie ‘Mumbet’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Octavia Spencer has signed on as executive producer on the independent anti-slavery movie “Mumbet,” Variety has learned exclusively.

“Mumbet” will be directed by Alethea Root (“Part Time Fabulous”) and produced by Kim Waltrip (“Hit & Run”) of Wonderstar Productions and Root of Truth 13 Productions.

The script, written by Stephen Glantz (“Wunderkinder”) is based on the book “A Free Woman on God’s Earth” by Jana Laiz and Ann-Elizabeth Barnes. Casting has not been announced.

Mumbet was also known as Elizabeth Freeman, who was the first enslaved African American to file and win a freedom suit in Massachusetts after hearing the words in the newly ratified state constitution — “All men are created free and equal.” In 1781, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found slavery to be inconsistent with the State Constitution — a ruling to have implicitly ended slavery in Massachusetts.

“This is a woman who risked her life to speak truth to injustice,” Root said. “The power of truth is paramount and the time is ripe for the world to be inspired and moved by Mumbet’s story.”

Spencer received her third Academy Award nomination this year in the best supporting actress category for “The Shape of Water.” She won an Oscar for “The Help” and was nominated for “Hidden Figures.”

“I’m extremely proud to be a part of helping to tell such an important story,” Spencer said. “It’s time for everyone to know about Elizabeth ‘Mumbet’ Freeman.”

Filming will take place in the area where the story unfolded in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Elizabeth Aspenlieder, “House of Cards” actress Jayne Atkinson, Glantz, and Libby Heimark are also executive producing “Mumbet.” “Mumbet” has the support of State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, who played a role in extending the state’s tax film incentives.

“It’s hard to beat the architectural history and scenery we have here, and having the support of the state enables us to film in the very locations this historic event occurred,” Atkinson said.

Spencer is currently repped by WME and Jackoway, Tyerman, Wertheimer, Austen, Mandelbaum, Morris & Klein.

More Film

  • Berlin Awarded 'Tess' Sells to Multiple

    Berlin Awarded 'Tess' Sells to Multiple Territories (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based sales agent Picture Tree Intl. has sold Steven Wouterlood’s coming-of-age film “My Extraordinary Summer with Tess,” which received a Special Mention from the jury of Berlin Film Festival’s Generation KPlus section, to distributors in several territories. Among the buyers are Les Films Du Preau in France, Proview Entertainment in Taiwan, Angel Films in Denmark, [...]

  • China Box Office: ‘Wandering Earth’ Reaches

    China Box Office: ‘Wandering Earth’ Reaches $557 Million in Second Week

    The winning films from Chinese New Year remained on top of the Chinese box office in their second normal weekend of release. Locally-made sci-fi film “The Wandering Earth” advanced its score to $557 million. “Wandering Earth” earned $88.8 million between Friday and Monday, according to data from Asian film industry consultancy Artisan Gateway. That was [...]

  • Nuno Beato’s ‘My Grandfather’ Part of

    ‘My Grandfather Used to Say He Saw Demons’ Marks Sardinha em Lata’s Animation Build

    Portuguese animator-producer-director Nuno Beato, whose credits include “Emma & Gui,” “Híssis” and the multi-prized “My Life In Your Hands,” will pitch a new project, currently in development, “My Grandfather Used to Say He Saw Demons” at Bordeaux’s upcoming Cartoon Movie, the leading European animated feature forum. Cartoon Movie runs March 5-7. Combining 2D and stop-motion, [...]

  • DF-10193 – L-R: Ben Hardy (Roger Taylor),

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Leads MPSE Golden Reel Awards for Sound Editing

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed up love from Cinema Audio Society sound mixers with a pair of honors at the Motion Picture Sound Editors’ 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Sunday night. The musical biopic scored wins for dialogue and ADR as well as sound editing in a musical. The film is nominated for sound editing at the Oscars [...]

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" in

    Writers Guild Makes It Official: This Is the Most Wide-Open Oscars Race Ever

    For the record, we’re in uncharted territory this Oscar season. While we still have the costume designers’ ceremony to get through on Tuesday, the Writers Guild Awards put a bow on the major guild kudos circuit Sunday night. The results have yielded what is, unequivocally, the most wide-open Oscar field in history. The major guild [...]

  • Melissa McCarthy as "Lee Israel" and

    WGA Awards 2019: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?,' 'Eighth Grade' Win Screenplay Awards

    In a pair of upsets, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” has won the Writers Guild of America’s adapted screenplay award for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty and Bo Burnham has won the original screenplay award for “Eighth Grade.” The major television trophies went to “The Americans,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Homeland” and “Barry” for the [...]

  • Alita Battle Angel

    Box Office: 'Alita: Battle Angel' No Match for China's 'Wandering Earth' Overseas

    Hollywood movies like “Alita: Battle Angel” and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” are doing respectable business overseas, but they’re proving no match for foreign titles at the international box office. The Chinese New Year is bringing in huge business in the Middle Kingdom. China’s sci-fi epic “The Wandering Earth” pulled in a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content