Louis Gossett Jr. is getting behind the camera to direct again – the first time since he directed a segment for the 1999 anthology TV movie, “Love Songs.”
This time, it’s a depression-era racial justice drama titled “Cottonwood,” a project we first alerted to of its development a year ago, which hails from Mark Campbell Productions.
Anthony Michael Hall leads a cast that includes Alison Eastwood, Ethan Suplee, and Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry, in his feature film acting debut, among others.
From a story penned by Stacy Dean Campbell, based on her novel of the same name, and dubbed a mystery/drama, here’s a lengthy synopsis for the upcoming project: “In 1930’s depression era Texas, a massive dust storm descends as Sheriff Rube Whitlock buries his daughter who died from “dust pneumonia,” and his wife falls into a deep depression. He hires a local black woman, Esther, to take care of the house just as a black teenager is almost beaten to death. Racial tensions build as PV, the housekeeper’s husband, buys an extra mule to help with his cotton planting, which is considered a white man’s crop, and Rube stirs the white community further as he investigates the beating of the young black boy. As racist forces, led by local troublemaker Orville “Guppy” Walters, step up their campaign of terror to intimidate the black community, a tragedy strikes, and the kindling is set for Rube’s whole dust dry county to go up in flames.”
The independent feature, which will be produced by Anthony Michael Hall and Julie Campbell, will begin filming in central Texas soon.
Louis Gossett, Jr. says of the project, “Cottonwood is a timeless story. It’s a story that helps make us heal as people. My life hero was Nelson Mandela. He came out of jail a healed man and healed others. The lessons from generation to generation about racial injustice in our society is not being taught to our young people, so films like this are very important to be made and seen. They need to see where we’ve been in order to see where we need to go. It’s about movement, constant change and it can help us all get to a better place in life. I am proud to be directing such a distinguished film with an amazing cast and a powerful universal message.”
We last saw Gossett in front of the screen, co-starring in CBS’ Steven Spielberg-produced Scifi series “Extant,” which starred Halle Berry.
Mark Campbell Productions and the film “Cottonwood” are proud supporters of the Eracism Foundation founded by Louis Gossett, Jr. to educate about and fight against racism.