Jay-Z will be teaming up with Netflix and Cheo Hodari Coker, the creator and executive producer of the Luke Cage Netflix series, to produce an adaptation of Dwayne Alexander Smith’s 2014 book Forty Acres for the streaming platform.
The novel received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work from a Debut Author. And, according to Deadline, it can best be considered a mix of the 1993 movie The Firm and Jordan Peele’s critically acclaimed 2017 horror film Get Out. It follows Martin Grey, a black attorney from Queens who joins a Black secret society only to uncover some horrifying secrets that put his life in danger.
Forty Acres will also be a reunion for Jay-Z, Aaron Kaplan, CEO of independent television production company Kapital Entertainment, and producer James Lassiter. Initially, the idea was to turn the book into a possible TV series, but “Kaplan thought the book would work better as a movie, and decided to make Forty Acres his company’s first feature project.”
Lassiter is well known for his frequent collaborations with rapper/actor Will Smith on such projects, including Hitch, Seven Pounds, and I Am Legend. His last time partnering with Jay-Z and Kaplan brought forth Women of the Movement, a limited six-episode anthology greenlit by ABC that tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, and her life’s pursuit of justice for the lynching of her 14-year old son.
Alongside Alexander Smith, other executive producers for the film will be actor Mike Epps and Dana Honor, current executive producer for ABC’s series A Million Little Things.