Native Son Book Trailer Assignment

Richard Wright’s classic novel “Native Son” is coming to the big screen, with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks signed on to adapt the book for a feature film.

Photographer Rashid Johnson will direct the film in his feature debut. Last year, Johnson became the first artist in nearly four decades to be named to the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum.

The film will be produced by Bow and Arrow Entertainment, which acquired the rights to the 1940 classic. “Native Son,” which elevated Wright to national prominence, follows a 20-year-old African-American man named Bigger Thomas from impoverished circumstances as he commits a series of brutal crimes.

Parks, who became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play “Topdog/Underdog,” is writing the script. Parks is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant and wrote the screenplays for “Girl 6,” directed by Spike Lee, and the adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”

Bow and Arrow partners Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman will produce, with Malcolm Wright and Julia Wright serving as consultants on behalf of the Wright estate.

The UTA Independent Film Group is representing the film. Negotiations were handled by UTA on behalf of Johnson and Parks, APA on behalf of the Wright estate and Levin Law Corp on behalf of Bow and Arrow.

Barack Obama's Reading List: 11 Books Recommended by the President (Photos)

  • Before leaving the White House, Barack Obama sat down with New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani to discuss the books that helped shape his presidency. Here are some of the titles he singled out.

  • "The Underground Railroad"

    Obama tells the Times that the "last novel I read" was Colson Whitehead's 2016 book: "And the reminder of the ways in which the pain of slavery transmits itself across generations, not just in overt ways, but how it changes minds and hearts."

  • "Gilead"

    Obama said he started reading Marilynne Robinson's novels while campaigning in Iowa. "I loved her writing in part because I saw those people every day. And the interior life she was describing that connected them -- the people I was shaking hands with and making speeches to -- it connected them with my grandparents, who were from Kansas and ended up journeying all the way to Hawaii, but whose foundation had been set in a very similar setting."

  • "The Three-Body Problem"

    Obama cited Chinese writer Liu Cixin's sci-fi trilogy as "the stuff I read just to escape." "The scope of it was immense. So that was fun to read, partly because my day-to-day problems with Congress seem fairly petty -- not something to worry about. Aliens are about to invade."

  • "Song of Solomon"

    "I think Toni Morrison’s writings -- particularly 'Song of Solomon' is a book I think of when I imagine people going through hardship. That it’s not just pain, but there’s joy and glory and mystery," Obama told the Times.

  • "A Bend in the River"

    Obama recalled the opening line of V.S. Naipaul's novel ("The world is what it is...") and noted, "I think about his novels when I’m thinking about the hardness of the world sometimes, particularly in foreign policy, and I resist and fight against sometimes that very cynical, more realistic view of the world."

  • "The Naked and the Dead" 

    Norman Mailer's 1948 novel, partly inspired by his experience in World War II, was one of several books Barack Obama told the New York Times that he gave to his daughter Malia. "Or 'One Hundred Years of Solitude,' I think she hadn’t read yet. Then there were some books I think that are not on everybody’s reading list these days, but I remembered as being interesting, like 'The Golden Notebook' by Doris Lessing, for example. Or 'The Woman Warrior,' by Maxine [Hong Kingston]."

  • "One Hundred Years of Solitude"

    As we just mentioned, Gabriel García Marquez's 1970 novel was another one that he gifted to Malia.

  • "The Golden Notebook"

    Doris Lessing has described her anti-war, anti-Stalinist 1962 novel as a work of "inner space fiction." It's another one of the titles Obama gave to Malia.

  • "The Woman Warrior”

    Maxine Hong Kingston's 1977 novel, subtitled "Memoirs of a girl among ghosts," was another pick for Malia.

  • "Gone Girl"

    Obama praised Gillian Flynn's twisty thriller as "a well-constructed, well-written book."

  • "Fates and Furies" 

    The president called Lauren Groff's book "a really powerful novel."

  • During challenging moments like the financial crisis, Obama said he turned to "Lincoln’s writings, King’s writings, Gandhi’s writings, Mandela’s writings -- I found those particularly helpful, because what you wanted was a sense of solidarity."

Before leaving the White House, the president shared his favorite books with New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani

Before leaving the White House, Barack Obama sat down with New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani to discuss the books that helped shape his presidency. Here are some of the titles he singled out.

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It's the birthday of the avant-garde composer Igor Stravinsky (1882), born in Oranienbaum, near St. Petersburg, Russia. His first major success as a composer was a ballet based on a Russian folk tale, called The Firebird (1909). It was wildly popular, and he traveled all over Europe to conduct it. He then got an idea for a ballet about a pagan ritual in which a virgin would be sacrificed to the gods of spring by dancing herself to death. Stravinsky composed the piece on a piano in a rented cottage, and a boy working outside his window kept shouting up at him that the chords were all wrong. When Stravinsky played part of the piece for director of the theater where it would be performed, the director asked, "How much longer will it go on like that?" Stravinsky replied, "To the end, my dear." He titled the piece The Rite of Spring. At its premiere in 1913 in Paris, the audience broke out into a riot when the music and dancing turned harsh and dissonant. The police came to calm the chaos, and Stravinsky left his seat in disgust, but the performance continued for 33 minutes and he became one of the most famous composers in the world.

-- The Writer's Almanac

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