Maybe we can thank a combination of Lee Daniels’ The Butler and what I’ve fondly referred to as “slave movie fever,” for this one. One blockbuster idea will often likely lead to a handful of facsimiles by others. This is how the business works folks, in case you weren’t already aware.
Sheldon Candis (who made his feature film debut with LUV, starring Common), and Justin Wilson (who co-wrote the screenplay for LUV with Candis) will write and co-executive produce the miniseries for ABC, with Deborah Spera and Maria Grasso’s One-Two Punch Prods executive producing.
Candis will also direct.
As the press release states, the deal with ABC comes at a bittersweet moment for Justin Wilson, who agreed to terms on the project on the day his father suddenly passed away, while father and son were hiking the Inca Trail together in Peru, when Gerald Wilson developed complications from the altitude and tragically died of a pulmonary edema.
“Since A Slave In The White House is a father and son story at heart, it carries even more resonance for me now,” said Justin Wilson. “I’ll be dedicating the show to my dad. I’m just grateful that he was able to share in a little bit of the joy of this success that he’d always desired for me as a writer.”
Candis recently directed the viral short film Crooked Smile for Jay-Z’s RocNation artist J. Cole & TLC. The short film was inspired by the true story of Aiyana Stanley Jones, a seven-year old girl who was tragically killed during a police raid in Detroit in 2010.
The deal marks Spera and Grasso’s sixth sale this season, with a seventh pending.