Wright is joined by an ensemble cast including Tracee Ellis Ross, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Sterling K. Brown, Myra Lucretia Taylor, John Ortiz, Issa Rae and Adam Brody
Feature based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett
MGM’s Orion Pictures announced today that it has acquired worldwide distribution rights to MRC and Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman’s T-Street’s new untitled film based on the novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett. The project marks the feature directorial debut of Emmy-winning writer Cord Jefferson (“Watchmen,” “Master of None”), who also adapted the screenplay, and stars Emmy winner Jeffrey Wright (The Batman, “Westworld”).
Joining the previously announced Wright is an ensemble cast including Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish,” “Girlfriends”) in the role of Lisa; Erika Alexander (Get Out, “Shining Girls”) who will play Coraline; Leslie Uggams (Deadpool, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”) as Agnes; Sterling K. Brown (Black Panther, “This Is Us”) as Cliff; Myra Lucretia Taylor (The Big Sick) as Lorraine; John Ortiz (Silver Linings Playbook, “The Promised Land”) as Arthur; Issa Rae (“Insecure”) in the role of Sintara; and Adam Brody (Shazam!, “Single Parents”) as Wiley.
The film, which recently wrapped production in Boston, is produced by T-Street’s Ben LeClair and Nikos Karamigios, Jermaine Johnson of 3Arts and Cord Jefferson.
Alana Mayo, President Orion Pictures said, “As longtime fans of Cord, we are thrilled to be a part of his feature film debut and for the opportunity to share his vision with global audiences. His adaptation of Everett’s biting novel and Jeffrey’s brilliant take on the character, along with this incredibly talented cast, create a wonderful alchemy to tell this story.”
Ross is an award-winning actress and producer best known for her roles in ABC’s award-winning comedy series “Black-ish” and “Girlfriends.” For her role as Rainbow Johnson in “Black-ish,” as a comedic leading actress, Ross won the Golden Globe Award in 2017 as well as nine NAACP Image Awards. She was nominated for five Emmys and two Critics Choice Awards. Ross is the CEO and Founder of Pattern, a haircare brand she launched in 2019 for the curly, coily and tight textured masses. Ross recently executive produced and narrates Hulu’s “The Hair Tales,” a docuseries about Black women, beauty and identity through the distinctive lens of Black hair. Upcoming, Ross will be producing a ten-episode podcast I Am America, which aims to break through the noise during this divided time in our country in an effort to create space and to heal. Ross will also star in and executive produce the animated MTV Entertainment Studios film Jodie, a spinoff of MTV’s iconic Daria franchise. Ross recently wrapped production on Roxine Helberg’s directorial debut Cold Copy starring opposite Jacob Tremblay and Bel Powley. Ross is represented by UTA, Artists First, ID and the law firm of Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller Gellman Meigs & Fox.
Alexander’s film and television credits include Get Out, “Shining Girls,” “Swimming with Sharks, "Run the World”, "Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” and the upcoming Wildflower and Earth Mama, but she is perhaps best known for her iconic role of Maxine Shaw on the TV series “Living Single.” Alexander is represented by Greene & Associates Talent Agency, Untitled Entertainment, and the law firm of Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein.
Uggams is best known for her Emmy and Golden Globe nominated performance in the landmark television miniseries “Roots,” and her Tony Award winning turn in the Broadway musical “Hallelujah, Baby!” More recent credits include the upcoming Nanny and Dotty and Soul, as well as Deadpool and Deadpool 2, “The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks,” “New Amsterdam” and “Empire.” Uggams is represented by BRS/Gage Talent Agency.
Three-time Emmy Award winning actor and producer Sterling K. Brown currently stars in Focus Features’ Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul, which is streaming on Peacock. This fall, he is in production on Hulu’s limited series “Washington Black,” an adaptation of Esi Edugyan’s novel, for which he is also producing, and the Netflix film Atlas, opposite Jennifer Lopez. His latest film project Biosphere, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is set to be released by IFC in 2023. For six seasons, Brown starred in NBC’s critically acclaimed drama series “This Is Us.” For his role as Randall Pearson, Brown received an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award. Brown’s additional film credits include Marvel’s Academy Award-winning film Black Panther, the powerful A24 family drama Waves and Disney’s blockbuster hit Frozen 2. In 2018, Brown was included in TIME Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” Also that year, he created Indian Meadows Productions. The company’s chief mandate is to champion diversity through the development and production of entertaining, educational and inclusive projects. Brown graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Stanford University, before receiving his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Brown is represented by JWS Entertainment, CAA, Jill Fritzo PR and the law firm of Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.
A Tony nominee for “Tina - The Tina Turner Musical” on Broadway, Taylor’s feature credits include The Good Nurse and The Big Sick. Her many television appearances include “Atlanta,” “Defending Jacob,” and “Hunters.” Taylor is represented by BRS/Gage Talent Agency.
Ortiz is an award-winning actor who honed his craft on the theatrical stage of New York. Among Ortiz’s many film credits are Silver Linings Playbook, Ad Astra, Bumblebee, Kong: Skull Island and Fast & Furious 6. Ortiz’s television credits include “Promised Land,” “Messiah,” “Togetherness” and “Rake.” Upcoming projects include “Bad Monkey” for Apple TV, created by Bill Lawrence. Ortiz is repped by The Gersh Agency, Principal Entertainment LA and the law firm of Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham.
Best known for creating and starring in the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy and Golden Globe nominated series “Insecure,” Rae first received attention for her award-winning web series and the accompanying New York Times bestseller “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.” Her unique flare and infectious sense of humor can also be seen on the big screen, starring in The Photograph and The Lovebirds. Rae is represented by UTA, 3Arts Entertainment and the law firm of Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller Gellman Meigs & Fox.
Brody was last seen in Focus Features’ critically acclaimed Promising Young Woman and will next be seen in Hulu’s limited series “Fleishman Is in Trouble.” He will also next be seen this spring in Warner Bros.’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods as well as Netflix’s River Wild from Universal Pictures. Prior to this film, Brody starred in Fox Searchlight’s Ready Or Not as well as Warner Bros.’ Shazam!. He can also be seen on FX’s “Mrs. America” and starring as the titular role in Sony Pictures’ The Kid Detective. Other lead roles include Michael Wilson’s Showing Roots, Neil LaBute’s “Billy & Billie,” and Whit Stillman’s “The Cosmopolitans” series for Amazon. Additional credits include Life Partners, Some Girl(s), Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Lovelace, Damsels in Distress, The Oranges, and Revenge for Jolly. Brody memorably starred as Seth Cohen on the popular television series “The O.C.” His last outing leading a series was starring and producing “Startup,” currently a top-rated show on Netflix. Brody is represented by UTA.
Jefferson’s recent credits are a powerhouse of critically acclaimed television series, including HBO’s groundbreaking series “Watchmen,” for which he won an Emmy award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series. Other credits include HBO Max’s “Station Eleven,” NBC’s “The Good Place,” Netflix’s “Master of None” and HBO’s drama series tour-de-force “Succession.” Among the accolades that Jefferson has earned for his work on these series are two Writers Guild Awards (“Watchmen,” “Succession”) and an NAACP Image Award for writing “The Good Place” episode, “Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy.” Prior to writing for TV, Cord was the West Coast editor for Gawker. His reporting and writing have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, National Geographic and Bookforum, among others. Jefferson is represented by CAA, 3Arts Entertainment, and Ziffren Brittenham.
Jeffrey Wright is a Tony, Emmy, AFI and Golden Globe Award-winning actor whose career spans the worlds of theater, film and television. Wright was most recently seen as Bernard Lowe in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “Westworld,” for which he has earned three Emmy nominations. Wright was last seen on the big screen in Matt Reeves' The Batman portraying the iconic character of Jim Gordon. Next year, Wright will appear on Netflix as Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in the George C. Wolfe-directed Rustin, the story of civil rights titan Bayard Rustin, who organized the 1963 March on Washington. Also next year, Wright can be seen as General Gibson in the star-studded Wes Anderson film Asteroid City and will return as the voice of The Watcher in the Marvel animated series “What if…?,” for which he is also Emmy-nominated.
Percival Everett was recently named a finalist for the prestigious Booker Prize for his novel “The Trees.” The annual award celebrates the best works of fiction from around the world written or translated into English and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland.
Wright stars as Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, an English professor and author who writes a satirical novel under a pseudonym, aiming to lay bare the hypocrisies of the publishing world. The book’s immediate success forces Monk to get deeper enmeshed in his assumed identity and challenges his closely-held worldviews.
About Orion Pictures
A division of MGM, Orion Pictures is exclusively dedicated to underrepresented voices and authentic storytelling in film with a focus on developing, producing and acquiring feature films that amplify underserved voices, both in front of and behind the camera.
T-Street was launched in 2019 by Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman, whose credits together include the Academy Award nominated Knives Out, and the recently completed follow-up The Glass Onion; as well as Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Looper; T-Street is currently producing “Three Body Problem” alongside David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and Alexander Woo for Netflix and will produce “Poker Face,” starring Natasha Lyonne with MRC Television for Peacock. MRC is a minority investor in T-Street, with a first-look deal across film and television.
About MRC Film
MRC Film is a leading independent studio known for championing singular filmmakers and emerging directors to make high-quality distinctive films and for its selective investments in major studio films, collectively which have earned more than $6 billion in worldwide box office and received accolades including 12 Academy® Award nominations and 11 Golden Globe® Award nominations. Upcoming projects include: G20, starring Oscar and Emmy Award-winner Viola Davis, Saltburn, written and directed by Academy Award-winning writer and director Emerald Fennell and starring Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi, The Blackening, from director Tim Story for Lionsgate, The Mothership, starring Halle Berry and from writer and director Matt Charman for Netflix. Recent films include Persuasion, starring Dakota Johnson and from director Carrie Cracknell for Netflix, and Jerry and Marge Go Large starring Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening from director David Frankel for Paramount+. Past films include the highest grossing original R-rated comedy of all time, Ted, the Oscar® and Golden Globe nominated Knives Out, the Oscar nominated Baby Driver, Oscar-winning Babel, and the comedy The Lovebirds. MRC Film has co-financed films including The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the Peter Rabbit franchise, the second and third installments of Hotel Transylvania, 22 Jump Street, Think Like a Man Too and Fast & Furious 7. For more information, please visit www.mrcentertainment.com.