Denzel Washington is on board to direct, produce and star in the screen adaptation of the play “Fences” for Paramount Pictures. Viola Davis is also set to star in the film.
Davis and Washington both won Tony Awards for their performances in the 2010 revival of the play, which first debuted in 1983. The original play won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1987 Tony Award for Best Play. The 2010 revival also won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
“Fences” centers on a one-time promising baseball player (Washington) who now works as a Pittsburgh garbage collector. Per IMDB, the film is about “an African American father who struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life.”
Wilson is reportedly adapting his play for the screen. It is rumored that Wilson was approached for the project in the ‘80s, but refused to write the adaptation unless a black director was hired.
Christopher Mele, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Jovan Adepo and Saniyya Sidney all appear in the film as well.
“This important and beloved play has been a passion of Denzel’s for many years and it is with great excitement that we embark together to bring his dream project to the big screen,” said CEO of Paramount Pictures, Brad Grey, of the announcement.
“Fences” will be Washington’s third film as director. He previously helmed the films “The Great Debaters” and “Antwone Fisher.” Washington won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1989 film, “Glory,” as well as Best Actor for 2001’s “Training Day.” Davis has been nominated for two Academy Awards: one for Best Supporting Actress for “Doubt,” and another for Best Actress for “The Help.”
The film is supposed to start filming later on this month in Pittsburgh. No word yet on a release date for the film. The news was first announced at CinemaCon earlier this week.