Dee Rees to direct adaptation of Porgy and Bess
Dee Rees intends to shift the characters from a fictional landscape into the real world.
Dee Rees has been tapped to write and direct a new movie adaptation of George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.
The Mudbound filmmaker is teaming up with producers Irvin and Charles Winkler to make the new adaptation for MGM, which has been granted film rights to composer Gershwin's estate, according to Deadline.
The opera, which opened on Broadway in 1935, was composed by Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin and inspired by Heyward's 1925 novel and play Porgy.
Porgy and Bess is set in the slums of Charleston, South Carolina and follows a disabled beggar named Porgy, who tries to rescue Bess from her violent lover Crown and drug dealer Sportin' Life.
"Porgy and Bess is at its core, a love story," Rees said in a statement to the publication. "I'm very excited to take on the challenge of this highly venerated, iconic material and lift the architecture of this unlikely love story and re-site it at a place and moment of resistance."
Rees explained that she was planning to take the African-American characters out of their fictional landscape and place them in the real world.
"I'm most excited about inviting today's brightest musical talents to lend new voice and spirit to both the joys and the frustrations of the ongoing struggle of African American citizens in this country," she continued. "In this new adaptation, I'm hoping to raise the stakes for our hero and heroine, giving them full expression of existence placing emphasis not just on the circumstantial but on their rich inner lives and emotional pasts."
Porgy and Bess was previously turned into a film in 1959. It was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, and Sammy Davis Jr.
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