Alrick Brown (director of the award-winning Kinyarwanda, released by AFFRM last fall) is set to direct an adaptation of J.M. Benjamin's 2007 novel My Manz and ‘Em, with Jamie Hector (The Wire and other projects) set to star.
The novel centers on…
… a Plainfield man sucked into a life of crime before undergoing a life-changing epiphany during and after a prison sentence.
Plainfield as in Plainfield, New Jersey.
As for what we can expect, especially for those who aren't familiar with the book, Benjamin, who previously did time in prison for drug trafficking, racketeering, conspiracy and more before becoming an author, states “This is the (prototypical) urban fiction, street lit book… But this isn’t an urban fiction, street lit film.”
His own past experiences inform his work, adding that the film will tackle idea that, as MyCentralJersey.com notes, "it’s all but inevitable for young, black men growing up in rough parts of rough towns to fall victim to “the game,” as gang and drug dealings are referred to repeatedly in The Wire and other forms of media portraying life in urban America."
Benjamin is tired of hearing/singing that song, adding, “You always have a choice.”
Alrick Brown agreed, stating, “We’re going to give them (the audience) more than they would ever expect from the movie.”
This will be an indie production, just like Kinyarwanda was for Brown, but he's up for the challenge, saying, “This is a risk, career-wise… I’m taking the path not chosen by bypassing Hollywood … but if I’m gambling, I’m going to bet on this team.”
A team that also includes co-producer Lamar Mackson and city television producer Adam Rauscher, who adapted Benjamin’s novel.
Principal photography is scheduled to begin this summer, with actor Jamie Hector playing the lead role, Malik Jones.
It's officially on my watch list.