Netflix has nabbed rights to John Henry & The Statesmen starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and directed by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle helmer Jake Kasdan.
The two are reuniting to tell the story of John Henry who is an African American folk hero. He’s said to have been a “steel-driving man” (people who would drill into rock to make holes for explosives during railroad construction). He’s said to have raced a steam-powered drilling machine, and won. Though he perished as he won the contest.
“Netflix is the perfect partner and platform for us to continue entertaining our global audience in a disruptive way,” says Johnson. “These diverse characters speak to a legacy of storytelling that is more relevant than ever and span across a worldwide audience regardless of age, gender, race or geography.”
Johnson’s casting has drawn a bit of backlash, as John Henry is typically portrayed as darker skinned and Johnson is mixed race (his father is Black Canadian). Whether that should matter in this case is up for debate. Crazy, Rich, Asians star Henry Golding drew initial criticism when cast in the role of Nick Young as he is of mixed heritage, yet that melted away when the film was a success. The character is also one of folklore…
You can see the teaser here:
When the man comes around..
Honored to play a childhood hero of mine, JOHN HENRY & his disruptive band of fellow folklore legends from around the world. @netflix are the perfect partners and platform to build.
Directed by Jake Kasdan (JUMANJI).
JOHN HENRY & THE STATESMEN 🌎🔨 pic.twitter.com/vJ0nkCYXDH
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) October 9, 2018
John Henry & The Statesmen is being produced by Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions (Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, and Beau Flynn also produce). The script comes from The Lego Ninjago Movie writer Tom Wheeler.
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