Taraji P. Henson is set to portray civil rights activist Ann Atwater in the upcoming drama The Best of Enemies, according to Deadline. The film, based on the long simmering battle between Atwater and the head of the Ku Klux Klan in the sixties, re-teams Henson with the creator of her current TV hit Empire, Danny Strong.
Inspired by Osha Gray Davidson’s 2007 chronicle of race relations in 1960s Durham, North Carolina The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemeption in the New South, the film centers on the tempestuous relationship between activist Atwater and the Exalted Cyclops of Durham’s Ku Klux Klan, C.P. Ellis. Sworn enemies, they reluctantly develop respect for each others’ viewpoint when both are asked to consult on a committee on school integration in 1971.
Robin Bissell, a producer on The Hunger Games, will make his directorial debut on the film.
Henson is being touted for Emmy consideration for her no-holds-barred portrayal of Cookie Lyon, matriarch of a hip-hop dynasty on the hit Fox series Empire. Her next big screen outing is the drama Term Life alongside Vince Vaughn and Hailee Steinfeld. Henson was nominated for an Oscar for 2009’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.