A television series based on the life of Malcolm X is in the works at Sony Pictures Television’s TriStar, Variety has learned exclusively.
The series will be based on the novels “X: A Novel” and “The Awakening of Malcolm X,” both of which were co-written by Malcolm’s daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz. “X: A Novel” was also co-written by Kekla Magoon while “The Awakening of Malcolm X” was also co-written by Tiffany D. Jackson.
“X: A Novel” follows Malcolm’s life from his childhood — including his father being lynched and his mother being institutionalized against her will — up to his imprisonment at age twenty. “The Awakening of Malcolm X” picks up during his time in prison when he decided to join the Nation of Islam, ultimately emerging from incarceration as Malcolm X.
Shabazz will executive produce the series along with State Street Pictures’ Bob Tietel and George Tillman as well as 3 Arts Entertainment’s Jermaine Johnson and Molly Madden. will also produce. Jay Marcus with State Street Pictures will serve as co-executive producer with Ron Baldwin producing. State Street currently has a first-look deal with Sony.
Should the project move forward, it would not be the first time Malcolm X has been portrayed onscreen. Most famously, Denzel Washington played him in the 1992 Spike Lee film “Malcolm X,” for which Washington received an Oscar nomination for best actor. Most recently, Kingsley Ben-Adir played him in the Oscar nominated film “One Night in Miami.”
In addition to writing the two books that will serve as the basis for the series, Shabazz has also written the books “Growing Up X,” the children’s book “Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X,” and “Betty Before X.” She is a noted educator, activist, and motivational speaker. She is the co-chair of The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center located at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York, which was the site of her father’s assassination in 1965.
She is repped by Solis Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein + Selz.