Saturday, December 20, 2014

Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment options 'Harlem Hellfighters'

Max Brooks' graphic novel, about the first African American regiment to see combat in World War I, is picked up by Will Smith's production company.

Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment options ‘Harlem Hellfighters’

Detail from cover of Harlem Hellfighters.
Detail from cover of Harlem Hellfighters.

From World War Z to World War I: Max Brooks’ new graphic novel, The Harlem Hellfighters, a fictionalized account of the African American 369th Regiment’s tour of the trenches of France, is on its way to the big screen – acquired by Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, which has a development deal with Sony Pictures.

To be published by Broadway Books on April 1st, the Caanan White-illustrated trade paperback tracks the highly decorated unit from enlistment lines in Harlem to training camp in South Carolina to the bloody fields of France. Brooks, of course, is the author of the zombie bestseller World War Z, turned into a big Brad Pitt hit. No word on whether Smith plans to appear in The Harlem Hellfighters, which will deal with both the regiment’s European triumphs and  the discrimination and disdain the soldiers faced upon their return home. Smith has a lot on his plate: he stars in the heist pic Focus, coming next year; Hancock 2 and Bad Boys 3 are both on the drawing boards, and Brilliance, an adaptation of the Marcus Sakey Edgar Award-nominated thriller, about a Federal agent with  with some exceptional terrorist-tracking talents, is getting set to shoot with Smith in the lead.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays, and his blog, On Movies Online, can be found here. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Steven Rea's previous blog posts can be found here. Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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