Astute Films, the Los Angeles-based motion picture financing and production company, announces the upcoming production of The Best of Enemies starring Academy Award® nominee Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, Empire) and Sam Rockwell (The Way, Way Back, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

Written and to be directed by Robin Bissell, the film is based on the incredible true story of Ann Atwater and C.P. Ellis. Rockwell plays Ellis, the Exalted Cyclops of Durham, North Carolina’s Ku Klux Klan, whose decade-long battle with sworn enemy, civil rights icon Ann Atwater (Henson), came to a sudden head in the summer of 1971 after a court-ordered school desegregation decree threw the southern city into turmoil. 

2017 BAFTA nominee, Babou Ceesay, also stars as Bill Riddick, who reluctantly yet masterfully persuaded Ellis and Atwater to co-chair an intensive, two-week community summit to try and reach a compromise.  What followed changed their lives, and Durham forever.

Other cast members are Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, Nick Searcy and John Gallagher Jr.

The film is inspired by the true events chronicled in The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson and will be produced by Danny Strong, Fred Bernstein, Matt Berenson, Robin Bissell, Dominique Telson, Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe and.  Executive producers are Rick Jackson and Jeremiah Samuels.  Production will take place in Atlanta, Georgia starting May 22nd.

“Astute Films was created to tell entertaining stories about people and events that matter”, said Astute Films’ president, Fred Bernstein.  “We are thrilled that Taraji, Sam and Robin will be bringing this story and these characters to life.”

Henson, who recently starred in Best Picture nominee Hidden Figures and is currently shooting Proud Mary, is repped by UTA and Vincent Cirrincione Associates.  Rockwell, whose next film is Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri alongside Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand, is repped by Gersh and Untitled Entertainment.  Ceesay currently stars alongside Idris Elba and Frieda Pinto in Guerilla for Showtime.

Astute Films just completed production of An Interview with God, starring David Strathairn and Brenton Thwaites.