EXCLUSIVE: André Holland (Passing), Kate Mara (Black Mirror), Zazie Beetz (The Harder They Fall) and Stephen McKinley Henderson (Beau Is Afraid) are set to star in The Dutchman, a psychological thriller based on the Obie Award-winning play by Amiri Baraka that has landed a SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement.
Directing from his script written with filmmaker Qasim Basir is Andre Gaines, the Emmy-nominated multi-hyphenate behind Showtime’s 2021 documentary The One and Only Dick Gregory. Production kicks off in New York City September 25th, putting a group of 150 or so back to work.
Set on a New York subway, The Dutchman centers on an encounter between a well-to-do Black man and an enchanting white woman who match wits in a sexualized game of cat and mouse that leads to a violent conclusion. The searing confrontation amplifies the dimensions of racial conflict in America in this adaptation of the stage show first presented at the Cherry Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, New York City, in March 1964, which was later adapted into a critically acclaimed 1966 film starring Shirley Knight and Al Freeman Jr.
Gaines noted during a recent conversation with Deadline that when this “historic play” taking place at the height of the civil rights movement came about, the famed playwright Baraka went by the name of LeRoi Jones. He took on a new name “after having been inspired by that movement, and launched the Black arts movement that happened up in Harlem, and has been a prolific playwright ever since.” Baraka passed away in 2014.
“This is a story that was near and dear to me, as I like to tell stories about historic times, places, people,” said Gaines, who will shoot his new project on a live MTA train in New York. “I did that with my film The One and Only Dick Gregory; I also did that with a film called After Jackie and really wanted to elevate this story to bring it to new audiences and broaden its scope.”
Gaines came to set Holland as his lead after attending NYU alongside him years back, having locked his IA about a month ago, and will produce The Dutchman through his multi-platform media company, Cinemation Studios. Producing alongside him is Jonathan T. Baker, the Emmy nominee known for Sylvie’s Love, The Banker, and Crown Heights. Joshua Blum and Han West are exec producing for Washington Square Films, with UTA Independent Film Group repping sales.
Most recently working with filmmakers including Luca Guadagnino (Bones and All), Rebecca Hall (Passing), Jack Thorne & Damien Chazelle (The Eddy) and Steven Soderbergh (High Flying Bird), the in-demand SAG Award nom Holland will soon be seen playing Huey P. Newton in Apple’s miniseries The Big Cigar. Other upcoming projects include John Ridley’s Shirley, Duke Johnson’s Neon pic The Actor and Titus Kaphar’s Exhibiting Forgiveness.
Mara was most recently seen starring on FX’s Class of ’09 and in a memorable episode of Black Mirror opposite Aaron Paul and Josh Hartnett. The Emmy nom will soon be seen opposite Morgan Freeman and Laurence Fishburne in the drama The Little Bedroom, an adaptation of the 2010 Swiss pic La Petite Chambre, and recently signed on to rejoin Fishburne in the sci-fi thriller The Astronaut.
Best known for roles in Atlanta, Joker and Deadpool 2, the Emmy-nominated Beetz has also recently been seen on Black Mirror, as well as films like the Brad Pitt-led Bullet Train, Netflix Western The Harder They Fall and the fantastical Edson Oda drama Nine Days. She’s next set to rejoin Joaquin Phoenix in Todd Phillips’ Joker: Folie à Deux, a sequel to the aforementioned dark take on the DC mythology of the Joker, which grossed over $1 billion worldwide.
A Tony Award nominee, Henderson’s recent credits on the film side include Ari Aster’s Beau Is Afraid, Causeway opposite Brian Tyree Henry and Jennifer Lawrence and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. In addition to Dune: Part Two, which has pushed back its release from November to March 15, 2024 due to the strikes, the veteran character actor will next be seen starring opposite Cailee Spaeny, Kirsten Dunst and Wagner Moura in Alex Garland’s action drama Civil War.
Gaines is a writer, director and producer best known for his work on The One and Only Dick Gregory, the Showtime doc spotlighting the remarkable life and career of comedian and activist Dick Gregory, and History Channel’s After Jackie, examining the fight for equality of the second wave of Black MLB players. Through Cinemation, he’s also produced and financed the buzzy HBO docuseries The Lady and the Dale, the remake of Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, and the SXSW-winning film Bill Nye: Science Guy.
Other recent projects include the HBO series The Anarchists, the Paramount+ film Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison, and the animated feature The Immortal Warrior starring Rodrigo Santoro for Amazon.
Mara is repped by CAA, Mosaic and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Holland by WME, Anonymous Content and Del Shaw Moonves; Beetz by WME, Entertainment 360 and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Henderson by Stewart Talent and EKG Talent Group; and Gaines by UTA.