Chinonye Chukwu’s Till recounts the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley’s (Danielle Deadwyler) fight for justice after her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till (Jalyn Hall), was lynched while visiting his cousins in Mississippi in 1955.
The biographical drama shows how Till-Mobley channeled her grief into action.
Following Till’s death, Till-Mobley raised awareness of the brutality of racial violence in the U.S. by holding an open-casket funeral and letting people see what happened to her son. The grieving mother also played a major part in the trial of the men accused of murdering her son, with Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam being acquitted before later confessing to the crime.
In addition to directing, Chukwu wrote the screenplay based on a previous draft by Keith Beauchamp and Michael J P Reilly. Beauchamp, a documentarian, conducted extensive research for more than 20 years to tell the story, working with Till-Mobley and Till’s cousin, Simeon Wright. Wright witnessed Till’s kidnapping and served as a consultant to the project before his death in 2017.
Deadwyler leads a cast that also includes Sean Patrick Thomas, Whoopi Goldberg, Frankie Faison, Jayme Lawson, Tosin Cole, Kevin Carroll, John Douglas Thompson, Haley Bennett and Roger Guenveur Smith.
Till is produced by Beauchamp, Goldberg, Reilly, Barbara Broccoli, Thomas Levine and Frederick Zollo.
“We were very careful in crafting the story [of Mamie Till-Mobley] to make sure that this story is told with dignity and respect. And so for those who are hesitant to see it, I understand in some cases why but it’s very important to understand that if we forget our past, history will repeat itself,” Beauchamp told The Hollywood Reporter about how he and the filmmakers approached telling the story. “And when Emmett Till’s mother made the decision to have an open-casket funeral, so that the world could see her son, it was a pivotal moment that galvanized the American civil rights movement. When we talk about Till, we have to remember that Emmett was the catalyst that sparked the American civil rights movement.”
The biographical drama premiered at the New York Film Festival on Oct. 1 before opening in select theaters on Oct. 14 and then getting a wide theatrical release on Oct. 28.
Read on to find out how the cast prepared to play their real-life counterparts.
This story originally appeared on HollywoodReporter