Director Ava DuVernay made history at the 2023 Venice Film Festival by being the first African-American woman director to premiere a film during the 80-year history of the event. Deadline reports that her film Origin, which Neon has acquired, premiered on September 6 at the festival. The film stars Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal, and we share all the details below.
Origin is written, produced, and directed by DuVernay and is based on Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Prior to the Venice premiere, Origin was picked up by Neon, and the studio plans a theatrical release in 2023. The film was also screened at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 11.
The biopic is inspired by Wilkerson’s life and path of global discovery. Her book uses the caste system to define racism in the United States. She compares American people of color’s experience to the caste system in India and Nazi Germany.
The cast features Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as Wilkerson and is joined by Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones and Connie Nielsen.
Origin official trailer
Origin will premiere in theaters in select cities on January 19, 2024. Until then, take a look at the official trailer below.
The Walking Dead – Ava DuVernay connection
Bernthal will star in Origin, and fellow Walking Dead actress Lauren Ridloff, who plays Connie on the series, will star in DuVernay’s romantic drama for Starz.
In November 2023, Deadline reported that the untitled drama set to star Ridloff and Joshua Jackson will not be moving forward at Starz. Production was halted on the project in May 2023 due to the WGA Strike, and DuVernay walked away from the project when her contract with Warner Bros. TV came to an end.
Deadline reported that the untitled series filming in Wilmington halted production in May 2023 because of the writer’s strike. The series is part of Starz’s #TakeTheLead summit and was initially set for a three-year script-to-series commitment last year.
Ridloff would star with Joshua Jackson in a story following a romantic relationship between the two who are total opposites. While one is ready for a commitment, the other is not. There are several other differences between the two; one is ambitious, the other restless, one is black, the other is white, and one is deaf and not.
Updates on the untitled series will be shared as they become available.