"After Rhimes earned her MFA in screenwriting, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith showed interest in producing a feature she'd written called "When Willows Touch" (Will Smith also had produced a short film of hers, Blossoms and Veils). But three weeks before production of Willows, actor Omar Epps walked away from the film and Miramax pulled its funding. "The project died," says Rhimes. "Apparently there wasn't a big market for black films set in the Jim Crow South about a body rotting in a cornfield." The setback gave Rhimes pause. Was this what she really wanted?"
From a revealing profile of Shonda Rhimes in today's Hollywood Reporter. The media-shy though prolific TV magnate gives THR a look inside her kingdom. The above paragraph was of most interest to me. It's public info, if, yet I had no idea... until now. A little digging revealed a slightly longer synopsis, which says that the story centered on a young girl discovering her brother's body in the family cornfield.
Rhimes still hopes to direct it one day.
I also had no idea she'd previously directed a short film produced by Will & Jada. IMDB says Jada starred in the 1998 film, along with Jeffrey Wright, Omar Epps, and CCH Pounder. Strong casting... but I couldn't immediately find the film online. If anyone has seen it online, let me know, so I can share here.
You can read the full THR profile of Rhimes HERE.