EXCLUSIVE: Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, The Suicide Squad) is in talks to star in Two Butterflies, an Amazon drama based on an original idea and script by Evan Dodson, which will be directed by Strong Island‘s Yance Ford.
Two Butterflies follows two estranged sisters who are torn apart by tragedy and forced to reunite when one sister must be transported to an Alzheimer’s facility. Dodson became the youngest scribe ever to make the Black List of the year’s best unproduced screenplays when his script was selected in 2016.
Davis and Julius Tennon will produce the upcoming film for JuVee Productions, with Rob Hardy for Rainforest Entertainment.
Davis is an Oscar, Emmy and Tony winner best known for turns in films including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, The Help and Doubt, as well as for the role of criminal defense attorney Annalise Keating in ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder. The actress and producer has also appeared in films including The Unforgivable, Suicide Squad and its sequel The Suicide Squad, Troop Zero, Widows, Blackhat, Get on Up, Prisoners and Beautiful Creatures, among others. Additional TV credits include Scandal and United States of Tara. Davis will next be seen in the Gina Prince-Bythewood TriStar film The Woman King, and in Showtime’s drama series The First Lady, which has her portraying former first lady Michelle Obama, among other projects.
Ford is best known for his 2017 documentary Strong Island, a Netflix Original which made its world premiere at Sundance. The success of the film, chronicling the 1992 murder of Ford’s brother and the failure of an all-white jury to convict his killer, led him to become the first openly transgender man to be nominated for any Academy Award, and to win an Emmy. The filmmaker worked for 10 years as a series producer for the PBS showcase POV, there curating work that garnered more than 16 Emmy nominations. He’s also an architectural welder, and while at Modern Art Foundry he helped assemble the sculpture Maman by Louise Bourgeois—the series of three spiders exhibited at Rockefeller Center, and now on permanent display at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Over the course of his career, Ford has been the recipient the Creative Capital Award and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, as well as a Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellowship.
Hardy executive produced and directed the pilot episode for Power Book III: Raising Kanan, which was renewed for a second season last summer. He also exec produced and directed the pilot episode for The CW’s All American, which is now in its fourth season, while exec producing studio movies including No Good Deed, Think Like a Man and Stomp the Yard. Hardy continues to direct on series including Power Book II: Ghost, Evil, Black-ish, Stargirl and Prodigal Son, among others. His company Rainforest Entertainment has a first look development deal at Lionsgate.
Other upcoming projects from up-and-coming screenwriter Dodson include an adaptation of Terms of Endearment for Paramount Pictures, which Lee Daniels is set to direct, and Frankly in Love, which is also for Paramount.
Davis is represented by CAA, The Lasher Group, and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols; Ford by CAA, Cinetic, and attorney Nina Shaw at Del Shaw Moonves; Hardy by Verve, manager Adam Robinson and attorney John V. Meigs; and Dodson by Verve, manager Jake Wagner and attorney Priya Verma.