The directorial debut of writer-director Boots Riley, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, has tapped three buzzy stars in its first casting: Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield, and Steven Yeun, the Tracking Board has confirmed. Forest Whitaker of Significant Productions is set to produce the film.
Financed by Significant, MNM Creative, MACRO, and Cinereach, the film follows a young black telemarketer who finds success in the business world, quickly rising through the ranks, just as his activist friends are rising up in tandem against unfair labor practices. However, when he discovers the secrets of corporations, he must decide whether to stay at the top or stand up alongside his friends.
Yang Bongiovi of Significant will co-produce with Whitaker as well as Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams, Charles D. King, and George Rush. Exec producing are Kim Roth, Poppy Hanks, Michael Y. Chow, Michael K. Shen, and Gus Deardoff.
The project, which will begin production near the end of the month in Oakland, first came onto the scene when it received funding in 2015 from the San Francisco Film Society and Kenneth Rainin Foundation, two groups who reward funding twice annually for narrative features that will have an impact on the Bay Area filmmaking community.
Deadline first broke the news of the film.
Prior to this debut, Riley was best known for his involvement in the music group The Coup, for which he worked both in front of and behind the camera.
Thompson first gained big popularity in the 2014 film Dear White People and has since appeared in critically acclaimed projects like Selma, Creed, and HBO’s Westworld. Next up she’ll be seen in Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok as Valkyrie as well as Alex Garland’s upcoming project Annihilation alongside Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez, and Oscar Isaac. She’s repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency and Mosaic.
Stanfield appeared alongside Thompson in Selma before his name because recognizable in popular projects like Dope and Straight Outta Compton and the more recent Get Out and FX series Atlanta. He has three big films currently awaiting release, including The Incredible Jessica James, Crown Heights, and Death Note. He’s repped by CAA and Stark Management.
Yeun has best become known for his role as Glenn on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Currently, he voices a role in Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender and will soon be seen in the streaming giant’s original film Okja. He’s repped by Paradigm, Principal Entertainment LA, and The Gotham Group.
Anya Crittenton | Associate Editor