It’s probably fair to say by now that Rafe Spall is a bit of a rising star. The son of Timothy Spall excelled in early roles in Edgar Wright’s “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” while in the last twelve months he’s done his very best to steal the show through lightly comic roles in “One Day,” “Anonymous” and “Prometheus.” After being cast as a romantic lead in Dan Mazer’s newlywed comedy “I Give It A Year” opposite Rose Byrne and Anna Faris earlier this year, it appeared that the range of roles Spall was attracting was beginning to significantly broaden. That trend seems to be continuing with Spall set to lead the Spike Lee produced indie drama “Son Of The South.”
Barry Alexander Brown (a frequent editor of Lee’s) will direct the picture based on the autobiography of Bob Zellner, “The Wrong Side of Murder.” The autobiography tells the fascinating story of Zellner – a white author who grew up in Alabama as the son of a minister and grandson of a KKK member, and who later joined the Civil Rights Movement. Co-starring will be the striking redhead Jacqueline Emerson, the 17-year old actress who made her big screen debut as Foxface in “The Hunger Games.” Spall will portray Zellner, while Emerson will take the role of his fiancé. Other names in the supporting cast include Marianne Jean Baptiste, Lou Gosset Jr., Clint Dyer, Saskia Reeves and Chaka Forman.
We like Spall, and we’re happy to see him taking a more serious acting role, while at the same time we’re hopeful he’ll be able to inject some of his trademark bumbling charm in there somewhere. Emerson, on the other hand, is much more of an unknown quantity (we can’t remember her having a line in “The Hunger Games”), but she’ll need to start filling her schedule as she’ll be one of the many THG cast members who won’t be required to return for either of the sequels. We’ll have to see what director Brown can do with the interesting premise, but in Spike Lee, he’s definitely got a great mentor that he can call on.