Nicole Beharie Will Play Slave Defending Homestead In New Civil War Drama 'The Keeping Room'

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by Courtney
October 30, 2012 5:17 PM
40 Comments
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Nicole Beharie has been tapped to co-star in a Civil War drama titled The Keeping Room, alongside Olivia Wilde and Hailee Steinfeld.

The film will tell the story of 3 Southern women (2 of them sisters, and the third, a slave) who are forced to defend their home in the last days of the war, against a large group of soldiers who have broken off from the Union Army

Wilde and Steinfeld will play the sisters, while Beharie will play the slave.

The Keeping Room will be directed by Daniel Barber, from a script written by Julia Hartfinancing/producing will be by Wind Dancer Films (the company that also backed What Women Want).

Gilbert Films and Anonymous Content will also produce.

WME Global brokered the deal, at the ongoing American Film Market (AFM), where it's being shopped to international buyers.

Producers call the project "cinematic, thrilling and dangerous," one that is full of "profound themes."

Principal photography is set to begin in March, 2013, in North Carolina.

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40 Comments

  • 7thangel | October 31, 2012 4:04 PMReply

    oh goodie, some more 'lost cause' entertainment that shows just how evil the Union was to the good southern folks.

  • Josh | October 31, 2012 11:43 AMReply

    Can I please get a Harriet Tubman movie?

  • Donella | October 31, 2012 12:24 PM

    Come to think of it, Solomon Northrup beat the overseer with his own whip too.

  • Donella | October 31, 2012 12:18 PM

    This and I'm hoping for a Frederick Douglass epic---beat the overseer with his own whip, then followed the North Star.

  • Josh | October 31, 2012 11:38 AMReply

    Sounds like the filmakers are probably still bent over Sherman's March to the Sea.

  • guyver | October 31, 2012 10:19 AMReply

    I think that the comment that B made is foolish. Why does everyone act as if black people were just born into slavery... as if we have no history before that. No one makes films about the fact the we led nations, or the fact that we are royalty. We were and ARE Kings, Queens, Princes and so on. We weren't genetically grown on a cotton field to be slaves. When there is a damn balance of those films then I will stop saying screw all of these slave movies.

    When I see Passion of the Christ remade with Jesus's ACTUAL features and his correct melanin and grade of hair, maybe I will except your chain gang bullshit stories. When will we as people stop drinking the damn Kool Aid that THEY make!! WE WERE NOT BORN INTO SLAVERY, WE EXISTED BEFORE IT!!

  • michele | October 31, 2012 5:18 PM

    @ GUYVER Preeeeeeeeeeeeeach sir

  • ALM | October 31, 2012 1:57 PM

    @ Guyver: I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see a film about Black royalty and also about the Harlem Renaisssance (as Orville mentioned). I believe there are millions of other Africans and African Americans who would also like to see those stories. The problem is that neither I nor a lot of the people who would like to see those stories have the finances to create those images. I don't think Kickstarter would provide enough money to make a proper movie about Black royalty since the characters would be very financially well off. We need to be praying for a financial miracle. :)

  • Excuse Me | October 31, 2012 10:36 AM

    "So tired of black folks always trying to ignore black American history or acting as if it is something to be ashamed of." B | OCTOBER 30, 2012 11:40 PM. @ Guyver, if you wanted to give a speech on the evolution of the black race and inform us of your knowledge of the Bible, why misconstrue B's words to do so?

  • Nadine | October 31, 2012 12:35 AMReply

    I've been looking around... is this based on a true story? The storyline does seem problematic, at least superficially, especially if based on Sherman's March. We as a nation can keep playing around with this idea that treason means nothing ... Anyway, I get the sense that there is going to be a lot of "reclaiming" of imagery through fluff/fiction slavery movies for 2013 that will attempt to dampen the impact of Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" which promises to be one of the few brutally honest (based on the Solomon Northrup's narrative) movies recounting life for negroes to coloreds under the vile institution of slavery that made the United States of America an economic powerhouse.

  • Donella | October 31, 2012 12:42 PM

    Rarely does the word "treason" arise when discussing the Confederacy, but that is what it was. Treason. And the Confederates were traitors.

  • CareyCarey | October 31, 2012 2:09 AM

    Great points Nadine. And I understand your concerns and skepticism.

  • Nadine | October 31, 2012 1:11 AM

    I feel like Beharie is going to disappoint me with this one (gut feeling - zero proof to back that one up - am likely wrong), but I, more important, want to know MUCH MORE about Julia Hart. I want to know her motivations. I want to know her background. I want to understand "Why this theme?". I want to understand the extent of her research. I want to understand her abilities and her track record for writing multi-dimensional female (and male) characters - especially when they do not mirror her likeness. I want to know what her likeness it, to be honest. I want to understand if she is aware of the sanctity of the topic she is addressing and its manipulated history. I want to know if she is personally connected - I just need to know more. The Institution of Slavery should not be ignored, as it has made the USA what it is today, though most deny the significance of its existence, but when addressed, we have got to have some standards. This heroic, victimized Southern Belle, I thought, had already been tackled in the one of the most popular movies of all time. I'm a little wary.

  • Orville | October 31, 2012 12:05 AMReply

    I think the best slavery film was the TV film roots from the late 1970s no other slave movie is as good as roots. The reason some of us don't like slavery movies isn't because they aren't important because they are. The quandary with slavery movies is they simply illustrate the paucity of quality roles for black actors when dealing with the past and period pieces.

    Slavery movies aren't exactly empowering either I believe they are rather boring and dull.

    Why does a movie that deals with the past with black people must deal with slavery? For instance, why doesn't Hollywood make a movie about the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century post slavery I think that would be intersting. Everyone knows about slavery but not a lot of people know about the literary and artistic contributions of black people in the early 20th century people like Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Angelina Weld Grimke, Aaron Douglas, Claude McKay, Counte Cullen, Carl Van Vechten, Nella Larsen ect.

  • blaqbird | October 31, 2012 1:40 PM

    Nightjohn is everything. I keep it in Netflix queue so I can revisit it whenever I want. Carl Lumbly all day!

  • sergio | October 31, 2012 8:58 AM

    "Slavery movies aren't exactly empowering either I believe they are rather boring and dull" You obviously haven't seen Charles Burnett's Nightjohn which was made for the Disney Channel. A very powerful film

  • J | October 30, 2012 11:09 PMReply

    Nicole will have limited options. Even if she is at the "forefront" she might have 'peaked' in this awful industry. My suggestion is for her to create her own projects so she can have a different voice.

  • Oslo | October 31, 2012 3:27 PM

    How do you know she has 'peaked' in the industry when she's just starting out. It takes money to make your own projects. It took Viola Davis a long time to get where she is, Nicole will get there if she has the talent. Sick of seeing all these slave roles but you got to take the job that will pay the bills so can't hold it against her.

  • CareyCarey | October 30, 2012 8:45 PMReply

    "Not another film dealing with Slavery OMG when will it ever end!!" ~ Leon Raymond. "A slave? Really? No. ~ Winston. "This is bullshit. Why is it in Civil War movies the bad guys are UNION soldiers?" ~ Peggy. Well, judging by Leon Raymond's volatile response in the Halle Berry post, which gives the indication of someone who might "go off", I thought it best that I reply to the above concerns as a whole. You know, it's no secret that I can "go there" as well :-). So, to keep this civil, to all, I say, lets open OUR eyes. The subject of slavery is not inherently a bad thing. As my friend Nadine would say "the defining factors are in the "details". Slavery was an institution created by white men which subsequently lead to a civil war. That war was instrumental in the deaths of nearly 500,000 Americans from the north and south, black and white. More importantly, regardless of where one resided or the color of their skin, it's safe to say the ideologies of the opposing forces and particularly those in power, were not - always - shared by the men under their command. Consequently, in reference to slavery, a Union soldier, Confederate soldier and the stories of the Civil War, each story is different. Yes, the difference is in the details. This story/film is speaking to "a large group of soldiers who have broken off from the Union Army". Who knows their mission, purpose or ideologies? The film also spoke of "a" slave. Who was she and what was her relationship with the two southern women? What's her story? Yes, she's classified as a "slave", slavery was an awfully event in American history and the Civil War was comprised of Union and Confederate soldiers, but what's the details of the rest of the story? In the end, in my opinion, slavery is not a "story" that should be scoffed at, nor put in a box. The famous line from the 1948 black-and-white film noir "The Naked City" says it all: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them"

  • CareyCarey | October 31, 2012 9:24 AM

    Thanks for having my back Agent K. I wasn't going to address Winston b/c I know what he's on.

  • Agent K | October 31, 2012 9:16 AM

    Shut the hell up Winston.

  • Winston | October 31, 2012 8:33 AM

    STFU, CareyCarey. We're tired of this sh!t.

  • B | October 30, 2012 11:40 PM

    Thank you! So tired of black folks always trying to ignore black American history or acting as if it is something to be ashamed of. When Jewish people stop making holocaust films, we can stop making slave films...maybe.

  • misha | October 30, 2012 10:04 PM

    Teach, Carey, teach! Couldn't have said it better myself. :)

  • ALM | October 30, 2012 8:10 PMReply

    Isn't this the 5th or 6th slave movie that has been announced this year alone? It's amazing. When African Americans bring up slavery, they are accused of "bringing up the past", "pulling the race card", and "being unrealistic because no one who is alive has ever been a slave". Those are the type of comments I have heard from non Blacks. By the way, people who believe in the third phrase obviously ignore the fact that slavery is very much alive and well in the realm of human trafficking. I guess talking about slavery and making tv shows and movies about slavery is okay as long as someone who isn't Black raises the subject.

  • Donella | October 31, 2012 12:14 PM

    LOL there does seem to be a trend. Intriguing...

  • jacetoon | October 30, 2012 7:53 PMReply

    Mmmmh mmh mmh....Slavery and black tears taste grand....3 people with no historical connection to the subject telling lies what a surprise. The screenwriter loves John Wayne.

  • LeonRaymond | October 30, 2012 6:37 PMReply

    Not another film dealing with Slavery OMG when will it ever end!!

  • Winston | October 30, 2012 6:29 PMReply

    A slave? Really? No.

  • Peggy | October 30, 2012 6:02 PMReply

    This is bullshit. Why is it in Civil War movies the bad guys are UNION soldiers? Why would a black woman slave work with 2 white women, her owners probably, to stop UNION soldiers from hurting the white woman? She should be on the sidelines eating popcorn and cheering the soldiers!

  • me | November 12, 2012 6:05 PM

    @Peggy
    You are naive if you believe that they would leave her alone just because she was black. They would rape her and kill her just as they would do with white women. As I understand we are not talking about "honorable" soldiers, we are talking about renegades, who escaped from the army to steal, rape and kill. And they probably didn't care to whom they are doing it.

    Just like Russian soldiers in the end of WWII didn't care what is the nationality of the women they raped. They did it to German women, but also to Jewish, Polish, Russian women, they even raped women whom they just freed from concentation camps.

    What makes you believe that some renegades from whatever army, Confederate or Union, would leave a woman alone, based on her skin color?

  • CareyCarey | October 31, 2012 8:32 PM

    "Do you think they are going to pay their good money to see a bunch of southern white boys get beat up by a black girl?" I present to you the story of a ass-kickin' black man, Django Unchained. I'll bet you a dollar (I'm not as rich as Romney either) that white folks will pay their money to see that slave kick much white southern booty. But I hear you... at the present time we're not writing the details. Sooooo....

  • Peggy | October 31, 2012 2:32 PM

    Yes Carey, I figured out the whole plot from one sentence. You're taught that in screenwriting school. I should say, "Hollywood" film school. American films are not deserving of your deep analysis of the historical construct of racism in America post Civil War - bullshit, no matter how detailed it is. Hollywood can't get that deep when it comes to slavery. It's impossible for them to. They have to sell tickets to white Americans. A good number from the south. Do you think they are going to pay their good money to see a bunch of southern white boys get beat up by a black girl? Especially one who isn't a "mammy". We're lucky we get a pretty black girl in the deal. In response, she has to fight against her own interests. No black woman is allowed to defend herself in hollywood films without losing some self-respect. I'll bet you a dollar (I'm not as rich as Romney) that's how the film will be.

  • CareyCarey | October 31, 2012 9:17 AM

    "So you've figured out the whole movie from a mere one sentence description, eh Peggy?" I am laughing with you Misha b/c that was my exact point (above). First, we're talking white civilians, therefore, regardless of the soldiers affiliation, the possible rape and murder of women should never be condoned. That reminds me, a black person was not "safe" in the hands of any soldier, Union or Confederate. As I implied above, just because a man was part of the Union Army, does not mean he was pro-black. Hell, my grandfather fought for the Union. I read government documents on how he and the rest of his "colored" regiment were unjustly treated by the white soldiers on their own military base. Also, newspaper accounts from that period said they were not even allowed in the northern town outside their camp. So yeah, as Paul Harvey would say "Stay tuned for the rest of the story". Hell, for all we know, Beharie's character could be a descendant of the old slave master (you know they loved them some brown sugar), and thus, she might be protecting her own damn property from the racist renegade white red necks who never liked black folks or anyone who harbored them. Hey, who knows, those old devils did that kind of sh*t. You know, in their wills, the "remorseful" slave owners would free their slaves and leave them land. Now, I doubt that's the synopsis of this film *lmao* but as you said "I'll wait to see a more detailed description before lambasting the film"

  • misha | October 30, 2012 8:23 PM

    LOL So you've figured out the whole movie from a mere one sentence description, eh Peggy? Not saying I'm not cynical of Hollywood telling such stories but I think I'll wait to see a more detailed description/synopsis before lambasting the film.

  • Jug | October 30, 2012 6:58 PM

    I think it'd be more interesting if there zombies ;-)

  • bondgirl | October 30, 2012 6:55 PM

    If I were a betting woman, I'd say the reason is because the strongest demographic for that genre of film are Southerners, and it panders to their perspective. As for Beharie's character...well...yes, it would've been a more interesting dynamic for the slave to revolt and help the soldiers. I'm guessing Wilde is the protag and therefore can't be killed/captured. Maybe someone should get a script to Ms. DuVernay...

  • AccidentalVisitor | October 30, 2012 6:12 PM

    I get your point. Truth is while I realize there is complexity in any way, Hollywood has produced its share of films in which the Union soldiers, during the Civil War, come across as antagonists which, by default, ends up making the Southerners at that time look sympathetic. But Hollywood isn't about to do a WW2 flick in which the Allies on the European front look like bad guys because that would mean...well...you know....the other guys make come across more appealing in comparison.

  • blaqbird | October 30, 2012 6:05 PM

    "eating popcorn". *dead*

  • Erica | October 30, 2012 5:25 PMReply

    So Cold Mountain meets True Women.

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