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John Ridley to write and direct superhero movie The American Way

04.16.2018

Well, this certainly sounds like an interesting project. Deadline reports that John Ridley (12 YEARS A SLAVE) has teamed with Blumhouse Productions to write and direct an adaptation of The American Way: Those Above and Those Below, a limited comic-book series which Ridley created with Georges Jeanty as a followup to their 2007 series, The American Way. The original comic dealt with a group of superheroes in the 1960s known as The Civil Defense Corps who each possessed special powers as well as a specific ethnic makeup designed to make segments of the American population feel safe and represented. A group of super-villains were also pitted against the team, but the whole thing was actually a creation of the U.S. government in order to stage mock superhero battles to pacify the American public.

The movie will pick up a decade after that story and will center around Jason Fisher, a black man known as The New American who was subjected to genetic manipulation which gave him super strength but left him with the pain threshold of a regular human. After The Civil Defense Corps had been "torn apart by racism, infighting and murder and exposed as a propaganda sham, the surviving members are heading in different directions. Missy Devereaux–a.k.a. Ole Miss–is transitioning from the First Lady of Mississippi into a candidate for governor and defender of a vanishing and hateful way of life. Amber Eaton–formerly known as Amber Waves–is a domestic terrorist, using her powers to infiltrate and destroy the country’s centers of power. Fisher has remained a crime fighter conflicted with being a propaganda prop to sustain a system rigged against the black population of America. He tries to become a champion of the disenfranchised people of inner-city Baltimore, who are wary he is a tool of the heavy-handed police force." Blumhouse Productions are said to be fast-tracking the project, and it's certainly easy to see why.

A synopsis of American Way: Those Above and Those Below via Amazon:

In 1962 Jason Fisher was given astonishing powers by the United States government--powers he used to defend the nation as the New American. He and his teammates in the Civil Defense Corps were real-life superheroes.

Except that it was all a fraud. A conspiracy. And now, 10 years after the CDC was torn apart by racism, infighting and murder, the Corps' surviving members find themselves pulled in very different directions. Missy Devereaux--a.k.a. Ole Miss--is transitioning from the First Lady of Mississippi into a candidate for governor and defender of a vanishing and hateful way of life. Amber Eaton--formerly known as Amber Waves--has become a domestic terrorist, using her powers to infiltrate and destroy the country's centers of power.

Somewhere in the middle stands Jason Fisher, who has remained a crime-fighter even as evidence mounts that he is accomplishing nothing besides propping up a system that's rigged against him as a black man in America.

In a nation being torn apart, what does it mean to fight for the American way?

While speaking about the comic sequel two years ago, Ridley stated that he intended The American Way to focus on the fraught race relations of the era. "I want to have conversations, and I really mean conversations, about race," he said. "We are going to see it in the characters who pre-existed in the previous edition of The American Way and new characters who are going to be joining our stable of heroes."

Source: Deadline

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