Kelvin Harrison Jr. set to play Jean-Michel Basquiat in biopic

The film will be co-written and directed by Julius Onah, who previously worked with Harrison Jr. on the Independent Spirit Award-nominated movie, “Luce”

Fresh off of an acclaimed performance in Cyrano, Kelvin Harrison Jr. has nabbed his next role. The actor will star as the iconic American artist in the upcoming Jean-Michel Basquiat biopic.

The film, currently entitled Samo Lives, is set to be written, directed, and produced by Julius Onah. This marks a reunion of sorts for Onah and Harrison Jr., who collaborated together on Luce, a critically acclaimed Independent Spirit Award-nominated film. This marks the first time a Basquiat film has ever been helmed by a Black filmmaker. 

Kelvin Harrison Jr attends the UK Premiere of “CYRANO” at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on December 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

The official description, per the press release, describes the film as, “a bold, artistically-driven biographical film celebrating the incredible origins and global legacy of the New York-born, Haitian-Puerto Rican American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose seminal paintings and street art graffiti defined the Neo-expressionism arts movement in the 1980s and whose impact and relevance is still felt 33 years after his untimely death at 27.”

Harrison Jr. shared the news from Variety on his official Instagram profile. In a cheeky caption, the actor simply wrote, “same ol’ sh*t,” under the post that now has over 9,000 likes. Harrison is represented by WME, Stride Management, and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.

Onah shared an official statement along with the film’s announcement. “Jean-Michel Basquiat redefined the idea of who ascends to the highest altitudes of the fine art world,” Onah expressed. “But the complexity and richness of his experience as an artist and child of the African Diaspora has yet to be dramatized in the manner it deserves. It’s an honor to work with Kelvin and my collaborators, and with Endeavor Content, to celebrate the legacy of an artist who has invited audiences everywhere to be inspired by the transformative power of art.”

Onah co-wrote the script with Peter Glanz and the film will be developed and financed by Endeavor Content. The announcement was also made on the film’s website, which launched with the full statement from Onah, music, and more.

While more details have yet to be announced, filming is set to start this fall. For more about the upcoming film, head to the official site, here.

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The post Kelvin Harrison Jr. set to play Jean-Michel Basquiat in biopic appeared first on TheGrio.

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