〉 The film in development is based on a 2013 Slate piece from Josh Levin.
Lee Daniels is re-teaming with Pam Oas Williams to develop THE QUEEN, a feature based on the 2013 article from Slate’s executive editor Josh Levin titled ‘The Welfare Queen’. Daniels, who previously worked with Williams on The Butler, will produce through his Lee Daniels Entertainment alongside Pam Williams Productions, with Silver Reel Partners financing. Daniels is in talks to direct, though whether or not he’ll helm the project has yet to be confirmed.
Levin’s extensive piece outlines the true story of Linda Taylor, the original “welfare queen,” famously described by Ronald Reagan as the Cadillac-driving “woman in Chicago” who got rich by manipulating the public aid system. Taylor, Levin reveals, was far more complicated and compelling than a simple thief; she was a sort of Talented Mr. Ripley–if Ripley were a real-life femme fatale in 1970s Chicago.
The story describes the way that one of the most gifted criminals in modern times transformed the way we think about race and poverty, and how the crime that made her infamous quite literally allowed her to get away with murder.
The Precious director is currently wrapping up production on season two of the Fox hit series Empire. His next feature project will be the highly-anticipated Richard Pryor biopic Is It Something I Said?, starring Mike Epps as the iconic stand-up comedian. Daniels and The Queen producers are currently looking for the write scribe to adapt Levin’s material.
Daniels is repped by CAA.
Levin is repped by Gersh.
Josh Lyons | Associate Editor