Casting News | Will Smith To Play Crime Boss Nicky Barnes In Netflix's 'The Council'


Will Smith will be taking on the role of Harlem crime boss Nicky Barnes in the upcoming Netflix film, The Council.




Nicky Barnes was an American crime boss. Barnes was active during the 1970s in New York. Barnes worked along with the Italian-American Mafia to lead a drug trafficking ring. Barnes was arrested in 1978, given a life imprisonment sentence, and eventually became a federal informant.

Nicky Barnes on the cover of The New York Times Magazine


Official Project Description: “The Council is the never-before-told story of a crime syndicate consisting of seven African-American men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early 80s. No ordinary crime syndicate--the men dreamed of a self-sufficient and self-policing African American city-state, funded by revolutionizing the drug game. The movie centers on the Shakespearean court intrigue between The Council’s king, Nicky Barnes, dubbed ‘Mr. Untouchable’ by the New York Times, and all the different members as one unlikely rising protégé emerges.”


Barnes has been portrayed previously on screen. First by Sean Combs in 2005's Carlito's Way: Rise to Power and second by Cuba Gooding Jr. in 2007's American Gangster. Nicky Barnes was also the inspiration for Wesley Snipes' infamous 1991 New Jack City character, Nino Brown.

Peter Landesman is the  writer and there is no attached director at the moment.

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