Dayo Okeniyi to Star in Shields Green Biopic

Dayo Okeniyi (The Hunger Games, NBC’s Shades of Blue) has been casted as Shields Green, in an upcoming Sobini Films project; titled Emperor.

Shields Green Photo from West Virginia State Archives

Shield Green’s Story: Shields Green was born into slavery in Charleston,South Carolina. His exact birth year is unknown, but it varies from 1825 to 1836. When he was a young man he escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad. Green was between the ages of 24-34, as he escaped a little over a year before the Harper’s Ferry Raid. As with his age, there is some question about whether he left behind a son when he ran. After making it through the Underground Railroad network to Rochester, New York, Green meet Frederick Douglass was provided with shelter and introduced to radical abolitionists like John Brown. This alone is biopic material; however his next decisions make his story even more film worthy. Instead of continuing to freedom in Canada, Shields Green decided to stay in America and join the fight against slavery. He went on to participate in one of the sparks that led to the Civil War; John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry.

Film Plot: After his new owners whip his young son, Shields Green kills the perpetrators and goes on the run. Shields must outwit and out-fight veteran slave catchers and the world-class bounty hunter Catch ‘Em Luke as he flees north to freedom. With Catch ‘Em Luke in hot pursuit Shields joins John Brown’s militia to raid Harper’s Ferry.

Shields Green (center) awaiting his 1859 trial after the Harpers Ferry raid

Emperor is being described as “a two-hander historical action thriller about one man’s fight to win the rights all men deserve.” The description is exciting, as I have been craving period films that are multiple genre films.; period romance, historical thriller, etc.

The Civil War-era historical drama will be directed by Sobini founder Mark Amin (Miles Ahead and Mary Shelley). Mark Amin will also take on the role as writer along with Pat Charles. Hudlin Entertainment (Reginald Hudlin) and Sobini (Mark Amin and Cami Winikoff) will be producing the project, with Tyler Boehm as executive producer.

Filming will take place in Savannah, Georgia.

Source: Deadline  and If Only


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