*Jussie Smollett is said to be shopping new projects, including a TV series, amid his legal setback over an alleged hate crime.
Smollett testified this week in the case about him allegedly staging a hate crime in January 2019. The disgraced actor is accused of lying to police about being the victim of an attack in Jan. 2019. At the time, Smollett said that two men yelled racist and homophobic slurs at him, kicked him, poured bleach on him, put a noose around his neck, and told him, “This is MAGA country.”
Smollett originally told police he was attacked by two white supremacists. He later claimed he was attacked by Nigerian brothers Olabinjo and Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo.
Smollett testified this week that after news of his hate-crime attack made headlines, he lost his livelihood due to the bad publicity. The actor was reportedly dropped by UTA and he hasn’t booked an acting gig in two years. As noted by THR, since the alleged attack, Smollett’s “prospects have drastically diminished,” the outlet writes.
Despite facing prison time over the charges, the actor-director is making time to make a career comeback. As reported by THR, Smollett has secured financing for a film and a potential TV series.
Here’s more from the report:
Smollett pulled off something that few in Hollywood can do. In 2020, he landed financing to make his directorial debut on the drama B-Boy Blues. Based on a novel by James Earl Hardy, the 1993-set film chronicles a love story between two Black men from different worlds. Cleveland radio and TV station owner Tom Wilson, who has known Smollett for 15 years and has worked with him on various music ventures, financed the film, which shot over 12 days in New York in fall 2020 and premiered in Harlem on Nov. 19.
Wilson says he put up the budget — less than $200,000 — “because I believe in Jussie.” The film currently has no distribution, but Wilson, who is in Chicago for Smollett’s trial, notes, “I’m not going to say who they are, but people are interested in buying this product.” Several buyers say they are unfamiliar with the title and haven’t been approached.
Per the report, Smollett and Wilson created the company A Supermassive Movie. The duo has also shot an untitled series pilot that stars Smollett, and he also directs. They plan to shop the project at the Sundance Film Festival next year.
“We just want the right verdict,” says Wilson, “so we can get on with making projects that allow minorities, Blacks and gays the opportunity to show their artistry.”