Although he’s been around for a while, John Ridley’s name is one that’s been attracting some *heat* lately, thanks to all the fan-fare over Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, which Ridley penned the screenplay adaptation for.
Last month, MGM hired Ridley to rewrite the script for its upcoming (and completely unnecessary) reboot of the classic Ben-Hur, based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ.
Also last year, Ridley set up an ABC drama series titled American Crime, which follows a racially-charged murder case and the trial that follows.
He was write and exec produce.
It’s been announced today that ABC has now given a pilot green light to the project, which is set in California’s Central Valley.
It reads like it’ll be an ensemble piece, as audiences will experience the murder and trial through the eyes of several different people who are, in some way, connected to the events.
It’ll frankly tackle race, class and gender politics in the USA.
Ridley wrote the script and is executive producing with former ABC Studios head of drama-turned-producer Michael McDonald through ABC Studios.
No ETA on delivery yet.
And not only did Ridley adapt 12 Years A Slave, he also wrote the script for, and directed another film that made its debut last fall (on the film festival circuit) – the Jimi Hendrix biopic starring Andre Benjamin, All Is By My Side.
Ridley is also currently developing a film based on the 1992 Los Angeles riots, with Ron Howard’s and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, and Justin Lin (4 Fast & Furious movies) attached to direct
His recent efforts include penning the script for Spike Lee’s HBO series Da Brick, which never made it to air.
As previously noted, with Shonda Rhimes, Kevin Hart, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Kenya Barris, Eve (see the post just below this one) and now John Ridley (and previously Issa Rae) all with new projects set up at ABC (although ABC has been home to Shonda Rhimes for some time now), the network seems to be setting itself up as the preferred broadcast TV network for black content creators.