Viola Davis to Produce and Star in Barbara Jordan Biopic

     March 8, 2012


Director Paris Barclay (Glee) and Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis (The Help) are looking to lend their talents to a biopic concerning the life of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Jordan holds the distinction of being the first African American elected to the Texas Senate and the first Southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives. The posthumous pic will center on Jordan’s life from her early days in a poor Houston neighborhood to her rise through the political ranks. Davis will star and produce the picture through her and husband Julius Tennon’s JuVee banner, alongside Barclay, Shelly Glasser and Diane Nabatoff. Glasser and Nabatoff had acquired the rights to the biography, “Babara Jordon: American Hero” by Mary Beth Rogers. Hit the jump for more.

Variety rebarbara-jordan-american-heroported on Davis’ involvement with the Barbara Jordan biopic and that Paris Qualles (The Rosa Parks Story) will adapt from the book. Here’s the book description from Rogers’ “Barbara Jordan: American Hero” (via Amazon):

Barbara Jordan was the first African American to serve in the Texas Senate since Reconstruction, the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, and the first to deliver the keynote address at a national party convention. Yet Jordan herself remained a mystery, a woman so private that even her close friends did not know the name of the illness that debilitated her for two decades until it struck her down at the age of fifty-nine.

In “Barbara Jordan”, Mary Beth Rogers deftly explores the forces that shaped the moral character and quiet dignity of this extraordinary woman.  She reveals the seeds of Jordan’s trademark stoicism while recapturing the essence of a black woman entering politics just as the civil rights movement exploded across the nation. Celebrating Jordan’s elegance, passion, and patriotism, this illuminating portrayal gives new depth to our understanding of one of the most influential women of our time-a woman whose powerful convictions and flair for oratorical drama changed the political landscape of America’s twentieth century.


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