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Spike Lee Exec Producing Civil Rights Drama ‘Son of the South’

Spike Lee is executive producing the civil rights drama “Son of the South,” with his longtime editor Barry Alexander Brown directing from his own screenplay, Variety has learned exclusively.

Brown is up for an Academy Award for editing “BlacKkKlansman.” Lee received Oscar nominations for best picture, director, and adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman.”

“Son of the South” will begin principal photography in Montgomery, Ala., in March. The producers are Colin Bates (“Maggie”), Eve Pomerance (“As Good as Dead”), Bill Black (“Bayou Caviar”), Stan Erdreich, and River Bend Pictures (“Coming Through the Rye”). The cast has not yet been announced.

“Son of the South” is based on the Bob Zellner autobiography, “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.” The Alabama native and grandson of a Ku Klux Klan member is pulled into the center of the civil rights movement in 1961. He was inspired by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, and invigorated by local black high school students marching to protest the murder of tenant farmer Herbert Lee.

Zellner became the secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and has continued as an activist for more than 50 years. His book was the winner of the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award.

Brown is originally from Montgomery, Ala., where he started his career in community theater. Montgomery is also the location where the story’s actual events took place.

Lee and Brown’s collaboration dates back to 1986’s “She’s Gotta Have It,” and includes “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” and “Inside Man.” Brown also co-directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary “The War at Home.”

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