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Rashid Johnson and Suzan-Lori Parks.

Suzan-Lori Parks and Rashid Johnson Collaborate to Make Richard Wright’s Novel Native Son into a Movie

Writer Suzan-Lori Parks and artist Rashid Johnson will be collaborating to make Richard Wright’s 1940 novel Native Son into a movie. Johnson will direct, and Parks will write the adaptation for the screen. Bow and Arrow Entertainment, run by Matthew Perniciaro and Michael Sherman, acquired the rights to the book and will produce the film. Julia and Malcolm Wright, Richard Wright’s daughter and grandson, will serve as consultants on behalf of Richard Wright’s estate.

This is not the first time Parks has written for the screen—she wrote the screenplay for Spike Lee’s 1996 comedy Girl 6 and adapted Zora Neale Hurston’s 1937 book Their Eyes Were Watching God for film. Parks received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 2001 and was the first African American woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize in drama for her play Topdog/Underdog (2001).

Rashid Johnson is represented by the gallery Hauser & Wirth and is the first artist to be appointed to the board of trustees for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and Museum in almost forty years. For the artist’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York last fall, titled “Fly Away,” Ian Bourland wrote in an artforum.com Critics’ Pick: “Whether the show constitutes the sort of ambivalent critique from within of his forebears or a more solipsistic deployment of his personal history isn’t entirely clear, and, for that reason, it is an important provocation in pressing conversations about identity, memory, and power in contemporary art.”

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