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Exclusive: Award-Winning Playwright Katori Hall to Make Feature Film Directorial Debut w/ ‘Hurt Village’ Adaptation

Exclusive: Award-Winning Playwright Katori Hall to Make Feature Film Directorial Debut w/ 'Hurt Village' Adaptation

Her award-winning play “The Mountaintop” enjoyed a successful run on Broadway 3 years ago, after an even more enthusiastic response from audiences in London where it premiered. The fictional depiction of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr’s last night, on the eve of his assassination on April 4, 1968, starred Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett when it debuted on Broadway, and went on to tour around the country through 2013.

Now playwright Katori Hall is set to make the transition from stage to screen, and not just as a writer, but a director as well. 

I’ve learned that Hall will make her feature film directorial debut with an adaptation of her own play, “Hurt Village” – the gritty drama about life and change in a Memphis housing project that made its world-premiere at Off-Broadway’s Signature Theatre Company, in 2011, and starred Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, as well as Amari Cheatom, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Ron Cephas Jones, Saycon Sengbloh and others.

The synopsis for the 2011 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner reads: “It’s the end of a long summer in Hurt Village, a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee. A government Hope Grant means relocation for many of the project’s residents, including Cookie, a 13-year-old aspiring rapper, along with her mother Crank and great-grandmother Big Mama. As the family prepares to move, Cookie’s father Buggy unexpectedly returns from a tour of duty in Iraq. Ravaged by the war, Buggy struggles to find a position in his disintegrating community, along with a place in his daughter’s wounded heart.”

The script adaptation was workshopped at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab in the summer of 2011.

Glendon Palmer (“Jumping the Broom”) and Khaliah Neal are producing the film adaptation, with Tracy ‘Twinkie’ Byrd (“Fruitvale Station,” “Black Nativity,” “Being Mary Jane,” “Stomp the Yard”) handling casting. 

A summer 2015 shoot is eyed.

Certainly a project to put on your watch list…

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