The legendary Whoopi Goldberg has signed on to produce and star in an upcoming film about Emmett Louis Till.
According to Variety, Goldberg will play Till’s grandmother Alma Carthan. Danielle Deadwyler, best known for her role in Watchmen, will star as his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Chinonye Chukwu will direct, and she wrote the screenplay.
Goldberg said in a statement, “We have waited a very long time to bring this historically necessary important film to people. And as we watch the repression of American History when it comes to people of color it makes it even that more important.”
Deadwyler added, “I am charged with humility and great will to embody her life at such an integral moment of personal tragedy and political rebellion, a boon to the civil rights movement, and to represent the joy in the love and life shared between Mamie Till and her beloved Emmett Till.”
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In August of 1955, 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant falsely accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of whistling at her in a store (he reportedly had a lisp and could not whistle.) Till, who was visiting from Chicago, was in Mississippi for the summer spending time with family. Within hours, he was kidnapped from his uncle’s home. The child was tortured, mutilated, and thrown into the Tallahatchie River. His body was weighed down with a fan blade.
Carolyn’s husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother J.W. Milam, the men that kidnapped and tortured Till, were found not guilty by an all-white jury.
In the 2017 book The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy Tyson, Carolyn Bryant admitted to lying and claimed that she actually didn’t remember what happened that day in the store.
Bryant is still alive today, reportedly living in Mississippi at 87 years old. Emmett Till would be 80 years old today.
The 66th anniversary of Till’s death is Aug. 28.
Mamie Till-Mobley became an activist after her son’s death. She passed away at 81 years old in 2003.