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Diaspora: ‘Clemency’ Writer-Director Chinonye Chukwu Finds Young Lead for Her Next Film ‘Till’

Jalyn Hall will play the role of Emmett Louis Till in the upcoming film, based on Till’s life’s story.

Nigerian-American, writer-director Chinonye Chukwu (Clemency) has cast Jalyn Hall (All American) to play the role of Emmett Louis Till in her next feature Till.

MGM’s Orion Pictures announced the news. The 14-year-old will feature alongside Danielle Deadwyler and Whoopi Goldberg.

The film tells the story of Mamie Till-Mobley (Deadwyler), whose pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son Emmett Louis Till became a galvanizing moment that helped lead to the creation of the civil rights movement. Mamie’s decision to have an open casket at Emmett’s funeral, and to have Jet magazine publish David Jackson’s funeral photos, was driven by her motivation to ensure people everywhere knew what had happened to her son.

Chukwu penned the screenplay from an early draft by Keith Beauchamp and Michael J P Reilly. The feature is partly based on the original research of Keith Beauchamp for his award-winning 2005 documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.

The writer-director is best known for her work in Clemency, starring Alfre Woodard as a prison warden coming to terms with the demands of her profession and Aldis Hodge as one of her inmates bound for execution. The film earned her the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at 2019 Sundance, making her the first black woman to do so.

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