John Ridley Teams with Blumhouse for Superhero Movie 'The American Way'

John Ridley Teams with Blumhouse for Superhero Movie 'The American Way'

Apr 16, 2018

John Ridley

Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley has teamed up with producer Jason Blum for a movie adaptation of his comic book series The American Way: Those Above and Those Below. Deadline Hollywood reports the filmmaker, known for 12 Years a Slave, will be writing and directing “a film that uses superheroes to explore timely social issues including race and integration.”

Ridley and artist Georges Jeanty created The American Way in 2006, a comic book limited series that spanned eight issues. Set in the 1960s, it tells an alternate history in which the United States Government creates superheroes and villains to keep American citizens satiated. Each costumed member represents a specific ethnicity to ensure the populace feels represented.

Published last year through DC’s Vertigo label, Those Above and Those Below is set 10 years after the original comic’s run, wherein a civil war of sorts erupts after the inclusion of The New American, a black man, to the government program. In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Ridley revealed he came up with the idea after learning about President Lyndon B. Johnson’s inclination for a black astronaut to join the space program.

In addition to penning films like Red Tails, Undercover Brother and Three Kings, Ridley has worked as a writer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and TV adaptations for Static Shock and Justice League. He also directed Cold Around the Heart, Jimi: All Is By My Side along with last year’s acclaimed documentary Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992.

It’s clear that John Ridley has plenty of storytelling experience (i.e. American history and superheroes) that makes him uniquely qualified for this film. This also feels like a good fit for Blumhouse Productions, the studio behind 2017’s surprise hit Get Out, a film that served as both a genre experiment and social commentary.

No release date has been set, but Blumhouse is reportedly fast tracking the project.

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