Kwame Kwei-Armah writes marcus garvey biopic ‘Marked man’ with winston duke as the lead

The long awaited biopic on controversial black leader Marcus Garvey is finally en route to being made.

Playwright and artistic director of The Young Vic, Kwame Kwei-Armah has written ‘Marked Man‘ the story of Jamaican politician and activist Marcus Garvey.

Set in the 1920s, Marked Man follows a young black man who joins J. Edgar Hoover’s Federal Bureau of Investigation and then infiltrates Garvey’s UNIA organization, testing his loyalty to both race and country as he grows weary of both men’s actions.

Picked up by Amazon Studios, Black Panther star Winston Duke has been cast as Garvey, it will be directed by critically acclaimed director/photographer Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) with Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) and DeWanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It) rumoured to be additional cast.

Kwei-Armah’s script is partly based on Colin Grant’s 2008 novel Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey and has been developed with the BFI Film Fund. Mark Gordon (Ray Donovan) of Mark Gordon Pictures is producing with Jackson Pictures’ Matt Jackson (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Glendon Palmer, and Douglas. Robert Teitel, Kwei-Armah, and Jackson Pictures’ Joanne Lee will be executive producers, along with Kwei-Armah.

Kwame Kwei-Armah is an award-winning British playwright, director, actor and broadcaster, whose breakout project Elmina’s Kitchen set him on his career journey. More recently he wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s upcoming musical film on the breakthrough of Viagra as Pfizer’s pre-COVID miracle drug. He became artistic director of The Young Vic in 2018 where he oversaw projects Twelfth Night and Tree.

After directing videos for the likes of Isaac Hayes, Common, Tracy Chapman, and Wyclef Jean, Dosunmu made his feature directing debut with Restless City and most recently helmed the Michelle Pfeiffer-Kiefer Sutherland drama Where Is Kyra? He next directs Beauty for Netflix Original Films and producer Lena Waithe.

Marcus Garvey (1887- 1940) was a complex figure who fought for the end of colonial rule in Africa, while also arguing passionately for Black separatism and against the spread of socialism – dividing him from other prominent Black activists of the era, including W. E. B. Du Bois, who were instead trying to promote racial integration.


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