Eugene Lee’s play “East Texas Hot Links” is heading to the big screen with the help of Samuel L. Jackson, who has signed up to executive produce the project.
According to Deadline, Lee (a veteran of the stage and screen, and a playwright) will adapt his own play, as well as direct the film version, with production set for spring 2016.
The one-act play, which premiered in Los Angeles in 1991, is comic/tragic slice of black life in rural Texas in 1955, set in a modest cafe in the piney woods, and takes place entirely in a single night, and is described as “a dynamic, ruthless portrayal of self-interest and betrayal. Set in pre-integration Texas, this murder mystery follows, eight black, poor, rural Texans in their beloved stomping grounds, Top O’ the Hill Café-a dusty backwoods bar.” It’s set in a time when the KKK still roamed at will, and centers on the random killings and disappearances of black men.
The original stage production starred Loretta Divine.
In a 1994 New York Times review of the play, they called it “a collaboration between August Wilson and Sam Peckinpah.”
Night Fox Entertainment (co-financier of this year’s “Z for Zachariah” which co-starred Chiwetel Ejiofor) is backing the film adaptation.
No further details are available at this time.
It’s worth noting Lee (who’s also an actor) and Jackson have a working history. Lee’s film credits include “Coach Carter” (which Jackson starred in). Stage highlights include working with Denzel Washington and Jackson in the Pulitzer Prize winning “A Soldier’s Play” by Charles Fuller at the Negro Ensemble Company, as well as a Broadway appearance in August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean,” and being a company member for the Kennedy Center’s 10-play cycle tribute to August Wilson.