A limited series about Cyntoia Brown Long, a sex trafficking survivor who was sentenced to life in prison for murder, is in the works at Starz. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Santa Sierra is writing and exec producing “The Case of Cyntoia Brown,” which is based on Brown Long’s memoir, “Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System.”
La La Anthony is also exec producing and Brown Long and her husband, Jamie Long, will consult on the project.
In 2004, 16-year-old Cyntoia Brown was convicted of murder with no possibility of parole until she was 67. In self-defense, she had shot a 43-year-old man who solicited her for sex, and was tried as an adult. While continuing to advocate for her release while incarcerated, she earned associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and mentored at-risk youth. Public figures including Anthony, Rihanna, Viola Davis, Amy Schumer, and Ashley Judd heard about her case and supported her in her fight for freedom. In 2019, Brown Long was granted clemency and released.
“We’re honored to be entrusted with Cyntoia’s story, which shines a light on the injustice of a system that tried and sentenced an at-risk minor as an adult when she was a victim herself of sex trafficking,” said Christina Davis, president of original programming at Starz. “This limited series from [EP Curtis Jackon], La La, and Santa chronicles Cyntoia’s long journey to freedom and furthers our #TakeTheLead programming mandate centered on narratives by, about, and for women and underrepresented audiences.”
Brown Long was previously the subject of docs “Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story” and “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.” Last year, she spoke out about the former, emphasizing that it was “unauthorized.”
Sierra has written for “Vida,” “Narcos,” and “Mayans M.C.” She will also write for and co-exec produce “Power Book III: Raising Kanan,” an upcoming installment in Starz’s “Power” franchise.