Colman Domingo, Chris Rock, Glynn Turman and Audra McDonald will star in “Rustin,” an upcoming biopic about gay, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin. The film is the first narrative feature to be produced by Higher Ground, Michelle and Barack Obama’s production company.
George C. Wolfe, who previously oversaw “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with “Milk’s” Dustin Lance Black. Netflix will release the film under their deal with Higher Ground.
The film will look at the onslaught of obstacles that Rustin had to overcome to organize the 1963 March on Washington, which was where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Rock will play NAACP leader Roy Wilkins; Turman will portray activist and March on Washington co-organizer A. Philip Randolph; and McDonald, will play civil rights icon Ella Baker.
Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty”) and Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis will produce the film.
Domingo worked with Wolfe on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” His credits include “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Candyman.” Rock has appeared in “Top Five,” “Down to Earth” and most recently starred on the fourth season of “Fargo.” Turman also starred with Domingo in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and appeared in “The Way Back.” And McDonald is the winner of a record six Tony Awards for her work in the likes of “Porgy and Bess” and “Carousel.”
Higher Ground’s upcoming slate of projects in partnership with Netflix includes the feature films “Exit West” and “Satellite,” and the comedic series “The G Word with Adam Conover.” Higher Ground presented “Fatherhood,” starring Kevin Hart, and the critically acclaimed “Worth,” starring Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci and Amy Ryan. But those films were acquired by Netflix after they were completed and released under Higher Ground’s banner.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the casting of “Rustin.”