The Weinstein Company and music producer Jay-Z have acquired the rights to the Trayvon Martin story, by purchasing the rights to two books written on the his murder and legacy. Fox Searchlight and Universal were also interested in acquiring the rights, but the Weinstein’s won the bidding war for both works. Trayvon Martin was fatally shot in the chest, at the age of 17, by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012, when Martin was just walking home from a convenience store.
The Weinstein’s previously produced the 2013 film Fruitvale Station, which focused on another black killing which took place in 2009 in the San Francisco Bay area. They will move forward with the Trayvon Martin project with the blessing of Martin’s parents, who simply want their son’s legacy to be honored.
The Weinstein’s and Jay-Z also purchased the rights to make a six-part documentary TV series about Trayvon Martin. It seems rap mogul Jay-Z will be more directly involved in this project than the feature film, after signing a first-look deal with the Weinstein’s in September.
Both projects will be based on two books that the Weinstein’s acquired rights to: 1) Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It, which was written by civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom and came out in February 2014 2) Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, which was written by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and which was released in January.
Meanwhile, The Weinstein Company has a couple highly-anticipated films being released this year, including Lion director Garth Davis’ new film Mary Magdalene starring Rooney Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Joaquin Phoenix. They also will have period film The Current War, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Katherine Waterston, Nicholas Hoult, and Tom Holland.