The former “Empire” star will also produce the project through SuperMassive Movies, a subsidiary of the actor’s recently-launched Story Worthy Pictures banner.
Jussie Smollett is set to make his feature directorial debut as he continues to face charges for allegedly staging a hate crime attack on himself back in early 2019.
According to Deadline, the former “Empire” star will direct “B-Boy Blues,” a film adaptation of James Early Hardy’s 1994 bestselling novel of the same name. Smollet, 38, will also produce the project through SuperMassive Movies, a subsidiary of the actor’s recently-launched Story Worthy Pictures banner.
“B-Boy Blues” centers on the romantic relationship between two Black men: Mitchell Crawford, a 27-year-old journalist, and Ranheim Rivers, a 21-year-old bicycle messenger and “B-boy.”
“B-Boy Blues” is the first out of a series of five books, which hold a special place in Black LBGTQ+ literature.
The film will be heading into production in New York City on October 17. In addition to Smollett’s SuperMassive, “B-Boy Blues” is also financed by Cleveland-based investor Tom Wilson, who funds small, independent projects from women, LBGTQ+, and BIPOC filmmakers. Smollett will produce the movie alongside Frank Gatson, Sampson McCormick, Madia Hill Scott as well as author Hardy and investor Wilson.
Smollet, a five-time NAACP Imagine Winner, previously directed two episodes of “Empire.” “B-Boy Blues” will mark his feature film directorial debut.
The news comes amid the ongoing case against Smollett, who was accused of orchestrating a fake homophobic and racist attack on himself in Chicago back in January 2019.
While Smollett was initially charged by a grand jury with a class 4 felony of falsifying a police report, all charges were dropped four weeks later. However, in February 2020 the grand jury revived the case, in which Smollett was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police.
Last month, Smollett once again filed to dismiss all charges, describing the case as “bullshit.”
“There is an example being made,” Smollett told BET News host Lamont Hill on an Instagram Live, per Fox. “And the sad part is that there is an example being made of someone that did not do what they’re being accused of.”
“These are the things that people don’t necessarily know because the lies and the things that were not true were yelled from the rooftop,” he added, saying a narrative was “intentionally created.”
“There is a tape … there is something, but of course it cuts off right before it happens.”
Smollett has continued to maintain his innocence.