Netflix Reveals Star-Studded Cast for “The Piano Lesson” Adaptation

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington will reprise their roles from the Broadway revival of August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "The Piano Lesson," in the upcoming Netflix adaptation.
The film features an ensemble cast that includes Ray Fisher, Danielle Deadwyler, Michael Potts, and Corey Hawkins. The adaptation is directed by Malcolm Washington, who co-wrote the screenplay with Virgil Williams, and produced by Denzel Washington and Todd Black.
"The Piano Lesson" tells the story of the Charles family in 1936 Pittsburgh and revolves around an heirloom piano decorated with designs carved by an enslaved ancestor. The play is part of Wilson's 10-title "American Century Cycle," which also includes "Fences" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."
The adaptation of "The Piano Lesson" follows Netflix's successful adaptation of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," which starred Viola Davis and received five Academy Award nominations and two wins.
The film is part of a broader effort to continue Wilson's legacy as a playwright and build on the success of previous adaptations of his work, including "Fences" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

 

Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington Take Lead Roles

Netflix has unveiled the all-star cast for its adaptation of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Piano Lesson.”

Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington, who recently starred in the successful Broadway revival of the play, will reprise their roles in the upcoming film.

The revival concluded its run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre as the highest-grossing revival of a play on Broadway and the highest-grossing Wilson production.

Stellar Supporting Cast and Production Team

The film adaptation features an ensemble cast including Ray Fisher, Danielle Deadwyler, Michael Potts, and Corey Hawkins.

Fisher and Potts also appeared alongside Jackson and Washington in the stage production. The Netflix adaptation is directed by Malcolm Washington, who co-wrote the screenplay with Virgil Williams.

Denzel Washington and Todd Black serve as the film’s producers, while Constanza Romero, Jennifer Roth, and Katia Washington are executive producers.

A Story of Family, Legacy, and Ancestral Pain

Set in 1936 Pittsburgh during the aftermath of the Great Depression, “The Piano Lesson” delves into the lives of the Charles family, led by Doaker Charles (Jackson).

The family’s story revolves around an heirloom, a piano decorated with designs carved by an enslaved ancestor.

John David Washington plays Boy Willie, Doaker’s nephew, a role originally portrayed by Jackson in the 1987 production.

Netflix released “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in 2021, directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Continuing August Wilson’s American Century Cycle Adaptations

“The Piano Lesson” is part of Wilson’s 10-title “American Century Cycle,” which also includes “Fences” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Both plays were previously adapted for the screen by Denzel Washington and Todd Black. In 2010, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis starred in the Broadway revival of “Fences,” winning Tony Awards for their performances.

Davis later won an Academy Award for her role in the 2016 film adaptation, which received three additional Oscar nominations.

Netflix released “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in 2021, directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

The film garnered five Academy Award nominations and won two Oscars for makeup and hairstyling, as well as costume design.

Building on August Wilson’s Legacy

The adaptation of “The Piano Lesson” follows Netflix’s successful adaptation of another Wilson play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which starred Viola Davis.

Davis also appeared alongside John David Washington’s father, Denzel Washington, in the movie adaptation of “Fences.”

Both actors starred in the 2020 Netflix documentary “Giving Voice,” which explored Wilson’s legacy as a playwright.

Craig Miller

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