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George C Wolfe to Direct Biopic on Gay Rights Activist Bayard Rustin for Netflix and Obamas’ Production House

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(Left) George C Wolfe. Photo by Sarah Ackerman, licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic. (Middle) Netflix logo. (Right) Barack Obama. Photo by the Obama-Biden Transition Project, licensed under CC Attribution 3.0.

George C Wolfe, the filmmaker who directed the 2020 American drama film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, will direct the upcoming biopic of gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, Rustin.

The Netflix film is produced by Higher Ground Productions, owned by former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, the streaming giant announced in a press release on Thursday.

“Rustin tells the story of charismatic, gay, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who overcame an onslaught of obstacles, and altered the course of American history by organising the 1963 march on Washington,” the press release said.

Rustin will be written by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black. Black will also be co-producing the film along with producer Bruce Cohen. Cohen has previously produced films, including black comedy-drama film American Beauty (1999), and the 2012 American romantic comedy drama film Silver Linings Playbook, both of which won Academy Awards and several other accolades.

Wolfe’s critically acclaimed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom fetched several awards. It was the last film to star Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer in August 2020.

Rustin will be part of Higher Ground Productions’ new slate of content that the Obamas’ will be producing for Netflix. The couple had signed a multiyear production deal with Netflix in 2018. The Obamas’ first production, the documentary film American Factory, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019.

The projects, which are at various stages of development, includes a biopic on mountaineer Tenzing Norgay and the novel Exit West’s film adaptation. The production house will also produce two series, Firekeeper’s Daughter and Great Nation Parks, and two films, Satellite and The Young Wife.

Michelle Obama announced on Tuesday that she will launch a new cookery show for children called Waffles + Mochi, which will also be produced by Higher Ground Productions for the streaming platform. It will stream from March 16.

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