Writer-director Deon Taylor will direct the upcoming film “Freedom Ride,” based on first-person accounts of the original freedom riders, including the late Congressman John Lewis.

Taylor and his Hidden Empire Film Group partner Robert F. Smith will executive produce the project, joining a producing team that includes civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and his company, Brooklyn Media, as well as The Hideaway Entertainment and INDE Companies.

“John Lewis once said, ‘You are a light. You are the light! Never let anyone — any person or any force — dampen, dim or diminish your light…Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.’ His words not only resonate with me as human, but inspire me to tell his amazing story,” Taylor said in a statement.

He continued: “Working with our great partners at The Hideaway Entertainment, INDE Companies and the legendary Benjamin Crump is such a blessing. We are going to create an amazing film and really do John Lewis proud, I promise you!”

The film is targeting a production start date in summer 2021 with plans to shoot in Atlanta and Birmingham, Alabama.

Deon Taylor and Benjamin Crump are represented by UTA and the Artistry Collective. The deal was negotiated by Christian Simonds of Reed Smith, LLP on behalf of The Hideaway Entertainment.

“Freedom Ride” is based on first-person accounts by a dozen of the original Freedom Riders including a then 20-year-old Lewis. Kim Leadford (“The Butler”), Matthew Rhodes (“Shot Caller”) and Mark Harris (“Crash”) will produce the film, with Crump, Charles Bonan (“The Butler”) and The Hideaway Entertainment’s Jonathan Gray and Kristy Grisham serving as executive producers.

Written by Steven Vosburgh and Dusdi Fissette, the film is set in 1961 and details the actions of a multiracial group of young activists led by Lewis as they decide to take matters into their own hands in the fight against racism.