Omar Sy is joining LaKeith Stanfield in Jeymes Samuel’s next project, The Book of Clarence. This project reunites Stanfield and Samuel who worked The Harder They Fall, Samuel wrote and directed the Netflix western.
The Book of Clarence is an original project Samuel wrote, will direct, produce and compose.
While plot details are being kept under wraps, Samuel spoke with Deadline in the past explaining that similar to his love of Westerns but disdain for the erasure of Black stories in the Western genre, he is hoping to do the same with his biblical tale.
So, my next movie is The Book of Clarence. And LaKeith Stanfield will play Clarence. And I’m taking it all the way back to the Bible era. You remember those biblical epics, whether they were about the Bible or just taking place around it, from The Ten Commandments to The Greatest Story Ever Told, Samson and Delilah and Ben-Hur, which runs alongside all that stuff in the Bible? As will be The Book of Clarence, a full fun-filled extravaganza. It’s written and ready to go, and set in 29 AD.
And while actual plot details aren’t revealed, Samuel’s excitement gives us insight to they many ways he can tell this story.
Firstly, the Bible’s the biggest franchise in the world. The biggest superhero, the most famous superhero of all time is Jesus himself. But when I used to learn about those things when I was a kid, I used to say to myself, “Where did Jesus buy his sandals from? Did he walk around barefoot? Did he buy his clothes or did people just say, “Hey Jesus, wear this?” Was there a particular brand that he liked, or a particular tailor who made his shawl? Where did Mary Magdalene get her hair done? They didn’t have any hair salons since the Cleopatra days. What currency did they spend? All that stuff the Bible doesn’t speak of fascinates me about the era. The Bible just gives you bricks. But the mortar you’re meant to fill in yourself. I want to show who he bought them from and what that guy was doing. What the guy that sold him those sandals had for breakfast, for dinner. Who was in the hood? Who was the troublemaker, or the cool dude that the girls liked? Who was the kid with aspirations? Who was the nincompoop? That stuff is what fascinates me about that era. The Book of Clarence is all of that stuff. It’s a really awesome, awesome, awesome tale.
SAMUEL: . . . People not understanding the viability of what happens if you put Black people in major roles. Quentin put one Black guy in cowboy clothes [in 2012’s Django Unchained] and had the biggest movie of his career. This is just something that, when you give people something they’ve never seen before and they’re not used to seeing, there’s a huge appetite for it. So, take Black people in the Bible days. As my mother said, “The difference between The Harder They Fall, Jeymes, and The Book of Clarence is, I’ve been waiting for The Harder They Fall for my whole life. But The Book of Clarence? That’s the one I’ve really been waiting for my whole life.’ So, my mother’s been waiting her whole life and her mother’s been waiting for her whole life. Like everyone in the Bible.
Samuel is looking to start shooting it by the end of the this year.
Like The Harder They Fall, James Lassiter, Shawn Carter and Tendo Nagenda are returning to produce The Book of Clarence. This will be Netflix exec Nagenda first time producing with Samuel, although he oversaw the production of The Harder They Fall.
Samuel’s voice and tone were on full display with his new take on the western in The Harder They Fall which featured an all-star cast of Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz and Regina King. Samuel earned strong praise when it premiered and the industry became intrigued by what was next up for the multi-hyphenate. Samuel first broke the news in an interview with Deadline that this would likely be his next project and Legendary moved fast to acquire the rights.
As more details arise, we’ll let you know.
Stanfield can currently be seen in the final season of the hit FX show Atlanta. His upcoming projects include the Apple TV+ series The Changeling and Disney’s The Haunted Mansion.
Sy stars in Netflix’s Lupin, which has been renewed for a third chapter. His film Father and Soldier debuted at the Cannes Film Festival and will be released in France this fall. Sy also recently completed production on Lionsgate’s Shadow Force and is set to star in Peacock’s remake of The Killer.