Former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett will be making his directorial debut with a film adaptation of “B-Boy Blues,” James Earl Hardy’s 1994 novel, Variety has confirmed. The film will be produced through Smollett’s SuperMassive Movies.
The film will start production on Oct. 17 and is financed by SuperMassive and Tom Wilson, a Cleveland-based investor who funds independent, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC films. Smollett is a producer, along with author Hardy, Frank Gatson, Sampson McCormick and Madia Hill Scott.
“B-Boy Blues,” a staple story within the LGBTQ+ community, follows the relationship of 27-year-old journalist Mitchell Crawford and 21-year-old bicycle messenger Raheim Rivers, who meet at a gay bar in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1993. Rivers is known as a “B-boy” or “banjee boy,” which is a term that originated in ballroom culture to describe someone with a tough exterior. However, as Crawford gets to know Rivers, he discovers that though he is a loving father to his 5-year-old son, he has a history of violence.
Smollett is best known for his role as Jamal Lyon on Fox’s “Empire,” for which he won a NAACP Image award for best supporting actor. Though “B-Boy Blues” will be Smollett’s first time directing a full-length feature, he did direct two episodes of “Empire,” titled “What Is Done” and “Fair Terms.”
Controversy has followed Smollett after he reported an alleged hate crime in Chicago in Jan. 2019, the validity of which was later questioned by the Chicago Police. The legal matter continues today, with several lawsuits ongoing. Last month, Smollett filed yet again for the charges to be dropped against him.
Smollett is represented by UTA. Deadline was first to report the news.