Jesse Williams Directs Mamie and Emmett Till Film

By Sameer Rao Sep 24, 2018

Actor Jesse Williams takes his views on anti-Black oppression and resistance into the director’s chair for an upcoming film about Mamie Till, the mother of Emmett Till.

Deadline reports today (September 24) that Williams will direct “Till" and produce the project alongside Whoopi Goldberg ("Random Acts of Flyness"), who will also star in the movie. "Till" primarily focuses on the elder Till and her quest for justice after Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam lynched her teenage son in Money, Mississippi, in 1955. Her decision to give her son an open-casket funeral to "let the world see what I’ve seen" broadcast the brutal realities of lynching in the Jim Crow South and helped fuel the Civil Rights Movement.



“I’m honored to be directing the story of Mamie and Emmett: a tale of revolutionary defiance in the face of tremendous personal and public devastation," Williams wrote in an emailed statement. "An exploration of power and pulling back the curtain on cultural violence; of boyhood and maternity challenging America’s reflex to hide from itself; underdogs refusing to pretend that terror is freedom.”

Williams will direct from a screenplay by Michael Reilly ("Happy Birthday to Me") and Keith Beauchamp, whose documentary "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till" prompted the Department of Justice to reopen its investigation into Till’s murder in 2004.

"Now that the Till case has been reactivated, it is all the more important to set the record straight," Beauchamp said in the emailed statement. "If Lady Justice should fail us yet again, I promise our film will not! Bringing forth truth to the masses is the greatest blow to delayed justice."