*Lee Daniels is adapting Sam Greenlee’s 1969 novel “The Spook Who Sat by the Door,” for FX, the cable network announced Monday.
Daniels will executive produce the series through his company, Lee Daniels Television.
The novel tells the fictional story of the first Black CIA officer hired by the agency in the late 60s. The book, as noted by TheWrap, was celebrated by the Black nationalist movement during the civil rights era and was previously adapted for the screen in 1973, starring Lawrence Cook.
Per FX, “The story chronicles the quest of Freeman, who was recruited as part of an affirmative-action program. After a very competitive selection process he trains in high-level combat and espionage. However, following this arduous training, this model recruit is rewarded with a post in the reprographics (aka photocopying) department, ‘left by the door’ as a token of the CIA’s ‘racial equality.’”
Per Daniels, “‘The Spook Who Sat By the Door’ was my dad’s favorite book. He’d be so proud that I’m doing this and even prouder that I’m doing this with Gerard and Dana — two bold and brilliant Black storytellers.”
“Raising Dion’s” Leigh Dana Jackson will write the script and serve as showrunner, while “The First Purge’s” Gerard McMurray is set to direct the pilot and EP alongside Daniels.
In related news, a documentary titled “Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat by the Door,” explored the controversial tactics implemented by the FBI to repress the 1973 film, which is considered a cult classic and a vital contribution to underground black productions, per IMDB.com.
One of the directors of the doc, Christine Acham, previously had this to say about working on the project with the book’s author: “From the beginning, Sam was very open with telling us the problems behind making the film and stories about what happened during the shoot and about how he knew a lot of the theater owners in Chicago and they’d call directly and tell him about how the FBI asked them to pull the movie out of their theaters,” she explained in a 2013 interview. “He was very open about those kind of discussions. Now as far as coming to know him and getting to know the vulnerable side of Sam, that came from getting to know him over time and spending a lot time with him; he was more willing to show the not-so-hard side of him.”
To learn more about this doc, check out the official website here.