MGM’s Orion Pictures has acquired an upcoming film based on Percival Everett’s novel “Erasure.” The currently untitled movie, which is the first announcement to come under Jen Salke’s newly added MGM oversight, will star “Westworld” Emmy-winner Jeffrey Wright and mark the directorial debut of Cord Jefferson (“Watchmen,” “Master of None”).
Wright stars in the film as Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, an English professor and author who writes a satirical novel under a pseudonym, aiming to lay bare the hypocrisies of the publishing world. The book’s immediate success forces Monk to get deeper enmeshed in his assumed identity and challenges his closely held worldviews. In addition to Wright, the film will star “Black-ish” actress Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, “This Is Us” alum Sterling K. Brown, Adam Brody, Erika Alexander, Myra Lucretia Taylor, and John Ortiz.
Jefferson, who is is represented by CAA, 3Arts Entertainment, and Ziffren Brittenham, wrote the screenplay for the adaptation; the book was first published in 2001.
“As longtime fans of Cord, we are thrilled to be a part of his feature film debut and for the opportunity to share his vision with global audiences,” Orion Pictures President Alana Mayo said in a statement. “His adaptation of Everett’s biting novel and Jeffrey’s brilliant take on the character, along with this incredibly talented cast, create a wonderful alchemy to tell this story.”
The film recently wrapped production in Boston. It is produced by Jefferson, by Ben LeClair and Nikos Karamigios of T-Street, which is Rian Johnson’s and Ram Bergman’s banner, and by Jermaine Johnson of 3Arts. MRC also serves as one of the production companies on the feature.
Jefferson won an Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series Emmy in 2020 for HBO’s “Watchmen.” Other credits include HBO Max’s “Station Eleven,” NBC’s “The Good Place,” Netflix’s “Master of None,” and HBO’s “Succession.” Jefferson, who is also the winner of two Writers Guild Awards and a NAACP Image Award, has also worked as a journalist, serving as the West Coast editor of Gawker.
Earlier this week, Salke gained control of MGM’s film and television operations. She unveiled her new leadership team on Tuesday.