Warner Bros. is developing a movie about the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as the studio has acquired his mother Lezley McSpadden’s memoir TELL THE TRUTH AND SHAME THE DEVIL, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned.
Brown was just 18 years old when he was fatally shot by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson after reportedly robbing a convenience store on August 9, 2014. The incident exposed racial tensions simmering beneath the surface of the city, where protests and civil unrest quickly erupted, sparking national debate about the relationship between African-American citizens and local law enforcement.
Brown was unarmed at the time of the shooting, but the U.S. Department of Justice found that witnesses who said Brown had his hands up in surrender were not deemed credible, and a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict Wilson. The officer was exonerated of criminal wrongdoing by the DOJ, which ruled that Wilson shot Brown in self-defense.
Insiders say that Warner Bros. aims to develop a drama that is tonally and thematically similar to Crash, which won Best Picture in 2005. The studio is currently seeking a writer to adapt the book, which McSpadden co-wrote with novelist Lyah Beth LeFlore.
Simon and Schuster published Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown last year, and several studios showed interest in tackling the challenging but important subject matter. Warner Bros. came out on top, and insiders suggest the studio is eager to hire a writer of color to tackle this sensitive project, which would certainly be the smart move.
McSpadden went on to become the founder of The Michael O. D. Brown We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation, an organization that advocates for justice, improving health, advancing education, and strengthening families. She also founded its signature program, Rainbow of Mothers, which was established to support mothers who have suffered the devastating loss of a child.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief