STXfilms announced Monday it has acquired domestic distribution rights to Astute Films’ “The Best of Enemies,” a fact-based story starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell as a civil rights activist and Ku Klux Klan leader who reluctantly worked together on a North Carolina community summit in 1971.
First-time director Robin Bissell also wrote the screenplay, which was inspired by the true events chronicled in Osha Gray Davidson’s nonfiction book “The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South.”
Henson plays Ann Atwater (Henson), an outspoken civil rights activist who encounters C.P. Ellis (Rockwell), a local KKK leader battling over the desegregation of schools in Durham, North Carolina during the racially charged summer of 1971.
The incredible events that unfolded would change Durham and the lives of Atwater and Ellis forever.
The film also stars Babou Ceesay (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), Anne Heche (“John Q”), Wes Bentley (“American Beauty”), Bruce McGill (“Lincoln”), John Gallagher Jr. (“Short Term 12”) and Nick Searcy (“The Shape of Water”).
Producers include Danny Strong, Fred Bernstein, Matt Berenson, Bissell, Dominique Telson, and Material Pictures’ Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe. Rick Jackson and Jeremiah Samuels are executive producers.
“Robin Bissell crafted a beautiful look at this unlikely friendship that arose from one of the most unsettling times in our country’s history, with Taraji P. Henson, Sam Rockwell, and the entire cast delivering riveting performances,” said Adam Fogelson, Chairman of STXfilms. “STXfilms is proud to come on board for this important and entertaining film that will resonate and evoke dialogue about the timeless humanity that is at the heart of this powerful story.”
The deal was brokered by UTA Independent Film Group.
Henson is represented by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. Bissell is represented by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Bloom Hergott Diemer. John Gallagher Jr. is represented by UTA, Wetzel Entertainment Group and Morris Yorn.