Saban Films has acquired the North American rights to “John Henry,” starring Terry Crews and Ludacris, the distributor announced on Tuesday.
The dramatic thriller is Will Forbes’ directorial debut (Forbes and Doug Skinner wrote the screenplay) and is produced by Defiant Studios’ Eric B. Fleischman, Kodiak Pictures’ Maurice Fadida and Automatik’s Brian Kavanaugh-Jones. Saban Films is looking to release the film in the first quarter of 2020.
“John Henry” is a modern adaptation of the African-American folk hero and follows Henry (Crews) after he abandons his former life for a more peaceful one in Los Angeles. There, he crosses paths with two immigrant kids who are running from the leader of the gang he used to be a part of, so he is re-confronted with his past life.
“The tale of John Henry is classic and legendary for many,” Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley said. “Terry and Ludacris’ performances are particularly inspiring, and we are delighted to share this contemporary telling with our audiences.”
Crews and Ludacris are executive producing, alongside Matthew Antoun and Mark Strome on behalf of iWood Studios and DJ Quik.
Jonathan Saba negotiated the deal for Saban Films along with Yale Chasin of UTA on behalf of the filmmakers. Saban’s upcoming slate includes Kevin Smith’s “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot,” as well as “Vivarium” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Casey Affleck’s directorial debut “Light of My Life,” Derrick Borte’s “American Dreamer” and “Bottom of the 9th” starring Joe Manganiello and Sofia Vergara.