Virgil Williams, a writer and producer on TV shows like ER, 24 and Criminal Minds, will make his feature film screenwriting debut, adapting Hillary Jordan’s award-winning novel Mudbound, for State Street Pictures and MMC Joule Films.
The novel’s story, set in the 1940s, follows six different voices from two families, one black and the other white, as they deal with racism in the Mississippi Delta.
A synopsis of the novel’s story per Amazon.com:
In Jordan’s prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm – a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion. The men and women of each family relate their versions of events and we are drawn into their lives as they become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.
I haven’t read the novel, but it instantly made me think of a book I have read – Dennis Lehane’s tome The Given Day, which also follows two families, one black and one white, just after the end of the First World War, swept up in the spirit of the times. Although different city altogether (Boston) and different period. I recall that in 2008, Sam Raimi was attached to a big screen adaptation of that novel, but I haven’t heard anything of it since then.