Will Smith has taken up the throne as a crime boss in the new Netflix drama ‘The Council’ which is based on the real-life boss Nicky Barnes.
The film will centre on a crime syndicate consisting of seven African-American men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early 80s with the goal of establishing a self-sufficient and self-policing African American city-state, funded by revolutionizing the drug game. It explores the Shakespearean court intrigue in the council between Barnes and a rising protege.
‘Concussion’ writer and director Peter Landesman is penning the script for ‘The Council’. Smith will produce with James Lassiter for Westbrook Inc.’s Overbrook Entertainment along with Jackson Pictures’ Matt Jackson and Jason Essex for Anonymous Nobodies. Landesman is executive producing with Jackson Pictures’ Joanne Lee and David Lee for Anonymous Nobodies.
This isn’t the first time Barnes has been portrayed in film, Cuba Gooding, Jr played the criminal turned FBI informant in Ridley Scott’s 2007 ‘American Gangster, although the role wasn’t a big part of the film.
In real-life, Barnes partnered with the Italian-American Mafia on international drug distribution until his arrest in 1978. He was imprisoned for life and went on to become an informant for the FBI until his death in 2012.
Smith has previously worked with Landesman in ‘Concussion’. He most recently starred as the blue genie in Disney’s Aladdin. His upcoming projects include ‘Gemini Man’, which is released next month, and voicing a character in animation ‘Spies in Disguise’ before returning to ‘Bad Boys for Life’ alongside Martin Lawrence next year.