Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley

For some reason or another, Hollywood producers have suddenly gotten very interested in films about American racism, and the nascent Civil Rights Movement. Specifically, the story of Emmett Till—a 14-year-old black Chicagoan who two white men admitted to murdering in 1955 after being acquitted of the crime by a Mississippi jury—is currently the subject of two different films currently in development, both based on writings by Till’s mother, key civil rights figure Mamie Till-Mobley.

Now you can add a third project to the list, with HBO announcing that it’s working with Will Smith, Jay Z, and TV producer Aaron Kaplan to create a miniseries about the murder and its effects on the national consciousness. There’s no title or much information known about the series yet, beyond the fact that it’ll be reuniting Annie producers Smith and Jay Z, probably with a lot fewer musical numbers, and a lot more sobering realizations about the reality of violence and racism in America.


Previous explorations of the Till case include a 2003 PBS documentary, The Murder Of Emmett Till, and a segment on 60 Minutes. The new HBO series doesn’t have a writer attached yet, but is expected to take the form of a six-hour miniseries.