Steve McQueen Sets Up Next Project At HBO – Drama On Young Black Man Navigating NYC High Society

Steve McQueen Sets Up Next Project At HBO - Drama On Young Black Man Navigating NYC High Society

In my interview with Steve McQueen, a question I was thankfully able to squeeze into my 12 minutes, was what we can expect from him next. His response: a musical. Although he hadn’t yet decided on what that potential musical would be.

But based on this morning’s news (courtesy of Deadline), the much-talked-about director’s next project doesn’t look like it will be a musical. And, in fact, it won’t be a project that will be released in theaters. At least, that doesn’t appear to be the case at the moment.
The celebrated director with now just 3 feature films on his resume, has set up a project at HBO, with World War Z co-writer Matthew Michael Carnahan, as well as Russell Simmons (yes, that Russell Simmons), and the Oscar-winning producers of The King’s Speech, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman.
Details are currently sparse on the drama project, but it’s being described as “an exploration of a young African American man’s experience entering New York high society, with a past that may not be what it seems.
I’m already intrigued, needless to say. My mind is already considering all the potential themes a concept like this could explore. And knowing that this will be in McQueen’s hands, gives me even more to think about.
As I told him during our conversation, I think he’s in very rare air right now, as a filmmaker of African descent who has the industry’s full attention, and is probably in a position to do almost anything he wants. At the very least, he’s in demand, and he’ll definitely be heard. How many other black filmmakers can say any of that about today? And he’s been able to accomplish this with just 3 films. 
The untitled HBO project is expected to be in his signature provocative style, and is further being described as “Six Degrees Of Separation meets Shame.
I loathe those standard, reductive industry comparisons, but I understand why they are commonplace.
HBO is fast-tracking the project, meaning it’ll likely be McQueen’s next directorial effort, with casting underway.
And given the above description, we wait with anticipation to learn what black actor will be cast to play the lead. Also, it’s not clear whether this will be an ongoing dramatic series, or a singular movie project for HBO.
No matter, the concept definitely intrigues, and I’m curious to know more about what McQueen’s cooking up for us next.
It’s also a curiosity that the project is set up at HBO, and not aimed at a theatrical release. Although, it could very well be as well. But better a premium cabler like HBO, than broadcast network TV.
Stay tuned.

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Steve McQueen in the buff? Okay, raise your hand if you'd like to see Stevie in his birthday suit. Well, my hands are plastered to the sides of my thighs.

Listen, I am suggesting Branch Ricky would be just another garden variety baseball owners without Jackie Robinson and Ashford would be another forgotten songwriter without his wife, Valerie Simpson by his side. So now we have Steve McQueen entering the grand stage without Michael Fassbender.

UT OH, I see a major problem brewing on the horizon. In McQueen's film Hunger, Michael Fassbender played an Irish Republican prisoner who demonstrated commitment to his cause by starving himself. That nine minute dialog was what stars are made of.

In McQueen's "Shame" Fassbender plays Brandon, an affluent and ceaselessly horny New Yorker – it's his show. And what would "12 years" be without the sick slave master, played by Michael Fassbender, who let his little head rule his big head? Well, I think it's safe to say both films would be just another garden variety movie about a very sick white guy. I'm just saying, make no mistake about it, Twelve Years a Slave is Michael Fassbender's showcase. Hey, don't get me wrong, sex and the horrors of slavery obviously sell but I'm just asking, can McQueen make it on his own?


Upon hearing this news, I would not define McQueen as a sellout. Truth be told, all of his films were basically targeted for those with blues eyes, fair complexion, thin lips and pointed noses. Black folks dollars (and voices) are an added plus, but without them the show will go on and they'll do just fine.

But I am curious to see what he does with this. Now let's see what he's working with.

It's being described as "Six Degrees Of Separation meets Shame." Oh lord, like Tambay, I can't stand that kind of ambiguous comparisons. I mean, "Six Degrees" is presently playing on Netflix (and I've seen it before… many years ago) but if I remember correctly (which I am having a hard time doing these days) there was several themes flowing through that movie. And Shame? Okay, I didn't see that movie (and never will) but I heard it's basic theme is sex-sex and mo' sex. Damn, we all know ol' Steve loves showing naked ass, so what the hell does he have cooking in his mind.

Well, when I look at the proposed storylines and the other players in the mix, like the black pimp Russell "easy credit ripoff" Simmon, I can safely assume black folks are in for another good fu*kin'. But I'll wait to see how this plays out before I call foul.


I am open to anyone who wants to dialogue with me on this issue.

Sellout? Really? I have to say that some of the dialogue that I have heard around Steve McQueen is quite interesting/strange. There is a definite inconsistency in how Steve McQueen has been addressed in comparison to other filmmakers of African descent.

I have no expectation that everyone will find the work of each filmmaker to his or her liking. I don't necessarily enjoy Lars Von Trier or the work of David Lynch for example. My concern is that there are, when we look at the work of filmmakers throughout the world, films which are realized in a variety of different ways (Ozu's use of 50mm lenses and low angles, the disturbingly long takes of Bela Tarr, the visual metaphors of Terence Malick).

Steve McQueen's filmmaking style features attributes which are popular in the international filmmaking community which is a major part of the reason for the critical acclaim that he has achieved. Consider the slow cinema style which is popular around the world. Many of those films don't necessary fly in the USA, but get a lot of love overseas. And the brother is from England so he has a different perspective in more than just relative to story.

I actually love the critical analysis but I would like to see the same analysis to the rest of our films across the board. It seems to me that some people are bothered that Steve McQueen is getting some serious love. Honestly, do we think that some of how people have responded to brother McQeen is supportive of our filmic excellence? Can we be as critical of our African American filmmakers?

Straight up, although our films have been improving in recent years, there is still a considerable amount of mediocrity in African American film. I have worked on African American films in several different cities. I met filmmakers who don't know what cinematic storytelling is. I met people who never studied screenwriting, yet wrote a screenplay and made a movie and it showed. I have worked on films where people hire actors without years of training, and it showed. I don't get it. I thought we were all raised with the understanding that we had to be twice as good to be considered equal. How much of that is reflected in our films?


Ah, the sellout begins. It doesn't take them very long to get moving on these things.


It's all about the math.
HBO = naked white women + violence
Steve McQueen = drama + edge
I predict this will be some sort of (Sweetback – the Baadasssss) + (Sex and the City – Journalism) + (Wall Street – Redemption). Basically: youngish black guy arrives in NY High Soceity, starts making money, f*cking the bosses wives until he messes with the wrong people, and gets his come-uppance. Will be a fast-paced, decadent thrill-ride of a watch, but no power structures will be harmed in the making of this film.


SHAME was terrible – I'm dubious of this…


Wow – HBO and Steve Mcqueen? This is a match made surely?
Looking forward to some updates.


I'm sure it won't be another 6 Degrees lone wolf story since there are plenty of wealthy blacks in high society, particularly in NYC and prostitution would not allow anyone much of a permanent foothold in that world


Well a certain segment of the audience for his last film will never watch his first two films. Also that same segment will run from this project as soon as they realize it involves gay for pay motifs. I'm not interested in another NY set story yet this project may make plenty people uncomfortable for me that is worth a watch.

Will Roberson

This sounds Like my story in reverse. I was married into the high society of England. I am from Harlem New York. I wrote a screen play with Gerard Brown who wrote Juice 2pacs first movie. My film is called Luciana. We have sent it to a few big shots in the movie biz. And now this pops up lol interesting to say the least.

The Truth

Tambey sucks!


This sounds like it will be amazing! And about damn time!

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