Dear Producer,Seriously, wouldn’t this be cool? We also talked about alternative casting, with Jaden as the older brother Byron and Willow as a new, refreshing choice as “Jenny.” I’m fond of that option too, though it would mess with the brotherly dynamics of the book. But hey, it would be worth it to see more of this girl:
I have an amazing proposition for you. Christopher Paul Curtis has this great book called The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963 that would make a fantastic movie. Here’s the set-up:
It’s a family drama crossed with a road movie, but with a civil rights kicker. We’re talking Oscar material here! And here’s the hook: Will Smith and family as the Watsons! Will and Jada playing the loving and patient parents. Trey as the tough and yet caring older brother Byron. Jaden as the sensitive protagonist Kenny, and Willow as the sweet little sister. The characters in the book are younger than these actors, but we can make it work. Their age and talent will give them what they need for the emotional range of these complicated characters.
Basically, the book is about an African American family who are struggling to control the behavior of the oldest son. After one last incident, the parents decide that they will bring him to live with the grandmother in Alabama, where he can learn respect. The whole family drives down south, even though they are concerned about race relations there. They are in Birmingham when the church bombing takes place, and it tears through the family — especially affecting the younger brother, who thinks his sister was killed. No one knows how to help him recover, except for the tough older brother, who is more than a troublemaker after all.
We can film in Flint, Michigan, and Birmingham, Alabama — the two places featured in the book. With Jaden coming off of the Karate Kid and Willow’s hit song “Whip My Hair,” the film will bring in lots of kids, and you and I know that adults love Will Smith. Please contact me so that we can discuss this opportunity!
ERC of Coughlan Literary Agency
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