Don Cheadle to Bring Early Black Wall Street Tycoon’s Story to the Screen

By Sameer Rao Apr 11, 2017

"Miles Ahead" auteur Don Cheadle‘s next biopic project will tell the little-known story of a Black millionaire on mid-19th century Wall Street.

The Hollywood Reporter announced yesterday (April 10) that Cheadle acquired the film and television rights for historian Shane White’s 2015 book, "Prince of Darkness: The Untold Story of Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s First Black Millionaire." The book chronicles the life of Hamilton, who navigated the counterfeiting trade, real estate and stocks to amass a fortune of nearly two million dollars (or more than $250 million today, according to the book) in cutthroat and White-dominated 1800s New York finance.

Named for a pejorative title used by many jealous contemporaries, "Prince of Darkness" references newspaper clippings and other primary source evidence to explain Hamilton’s then-unprecedented wealth and ostentatious lifestyle, as well as the ire it provoked from White competitors.

Cheadle will produce and star in the project as Hamilton, while "Miles Ahead" collaborator Steven Baigelman will pen the script. It was not announced if the project will debut in theaters or on TV.