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Crime News

Jesse Williams To Make Directorial Debut With A New Film About Emmett Till

The upcoming film “Till” will focus on Mamie Till’s quest for justice for her son.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Actor Jesse Williams, known for his work as an activist and his starring role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” will be directing his first feature with “Till,” a film about the aftermath of the tragic murder of Emmett Till.

Emmett Till was brutally murdered in 1955 at the age of 14 after being falsely accused of flirting with a white woman in public. The accused murderers — the white woman’s husband and brother — were acquitted by an all-white jury who deliberated for less than an hour before coming to a decision.

“Till” is based on a screenplay by Michael Reilly and Keith A. Beauchamp and will focus on Mamie Till's pursuit of justice for her son, according to Deadline. Beauchamp’s 2005 documentary, “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till,” serves as the inspiration for Williams’ new film, the outlet reports. Production is reportedly scheduled to begin next summer.

“I’m honored to be directing the story of Mamie & Emmett: a tale of revolutionary defiance in the face of tremendous personal and public devastation,” Williams said, according to Deadline. “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.”

The family of Emmitt Till has approved of Williams’ new film, Deadline reports.

Williams announced his new film in a series of Instagram posts on Monday featuring historical photos of Mamie and Emmett with the Nike slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” superimposed over the images.

Mamie Till’s decision to have an open casket at her son’s funeral, revealing the horror her son endured and the reality of racism in America, sparked national conversation after the story was picked up my mainstream media outlets. Till’s killers confessed to his murder in a magazine article the following year. It wasn’t until 2017 that Carolyn Bryant-Donham, the woman who accused Emmett Till of harassing her, finally admitted to making false allegations against the child.

[Photo: Jesse Williams attends the Kenzo Menswear Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 22, 2017 in Paris, France. By Francois Durand/Getty Images]