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Antoine Fuqua has taken on his next directing gig and he’ll be dabbling in the world of Tennessee Williams. Fuqua will direct and produce an adaptation of Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” that is based on the 2008 Broadway production that features an all-Black cast.
“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” was adapted for the screen for the very first time in 1958. Directed by Richard Brooks, the film stars Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives, Judith Anderson, Jack Carson, and Madeline Sherwood. The film followed the story of the three-act play of the same name, which itself was an adaptation of his 1952 short story “Three Players of a Summer Game.” The story follows a Southern family in crisis, especially the husband Brick and wife Margaret, and their interaction with Brick’s family over the course of one evening’s gathering at the family estate in Mississippi. The party celebrates the birthday of patriarch Big Daddy Pollitt and his return from the Ochsner Clinic with what he was told was a clean bill of health. All family members (except Big Daddy and his wife Big Mama) are aware of Big Daddy’s true diagnosis: He’s dying of cancer. The family has lied to them both to spare the aging couple from the pain on the patriarch’s birthday, but it becomes clear that the Pollitt family has long constructed a web of deceit for itself. The play is one of Williams’ most famous works and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955.
The 2008 Broadway production made history as the first all-African American production of the Broadway classic as well as the biggest grossing play during that season, selling out completely during its 19-week run. The 2008 staging was directed by Debbie Allen and starred Terence Howard in his Broadway debut alongside Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, and James Earl Jones. Fuqua will be tackling this version of the play for his feature film adaptation via his production company Fuqua Films, and Broadway producers Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey through their Front Row Productions banner. Fuqua had this to say about bringing this version of the play to the big screen:
“Bringing such a historic production to the screen is an honor I am thrilled to have alongside Stephen and Alia. They have shown their commitment to the project with two successful stagings on Broadway and the West End and know what it takes to translate this iconic drama from theatre to cinema.”
Fuqua, best known for directing Training Day, The Magnificent Seven, and The Equalizer, has been very busy recently. He directed and executive produced the documentary What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali for HBO, produced Quibi’s #FreeRayShawn, starring Laurence Fishburne and Stephan James, and his next film is Paramount’s Infinite, starring Mark Wahlberg. He also has a slew of projects in various stages of development which makes him one of the busiest directors and producers working in the business today.
What are YOUR thoughts on Antoine Fuqua adapting “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?”