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Mahershala Ali Eyes Role in ‘Solitary’ Prison Movie

Two-time Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali is executive producing and plans to star in prison drama “Solitary” for Fox Searchlight.

The specialty label has bought the movie rights to Albert Woodfox’s 2019 memoir about the 43 years he spent in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s Angola Prison. The book’s full title is “Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades In Solitary Confinement, My Story of Transformation and Hope.” The project is in the early stages of development without a director or screenwriter attached.

Woodfox and Herman Wallace were indicted in 1972 for the killing of a prison corrections officer and convicted in 1974. Activists began working in the 1990s on appeals and Woodfox’s conviction was overturned in 2014. He was released in 2016 after the prosecution agreed to drop its push for a retrial and accept his plea of no contest to lesser charges of burglary and manslaughter.

During their time in Angola, Woodfox and Wallace campaigned for prison reform as members of the Black Panther Party. Wallace was released in 2013 due to his having terminal cancer and died three days after his release.

The film will be produced by Jamie Patricof and Katie McNeill for Hunting Lane. Patricof worked with Ali on the 2012 film “The Place Beyond The Pines.” Ali won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for 2016’s “Moonlight” and won the award again this year for “Green Book” for his portrayal of pianist Don Shirley.

Ali is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Sloane Offer. The deal was made on behalf of the Ross Yoon Agency by Hotchkiss Daily & Associates. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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