Jonathan Majors to Star in Westbrook and Amazon’s ‘Da Understudy,’ Spike Lee in Talks to Direct
Hot on the heels of a historic opening weekend for “Creed III,” Jonathan Majors has set his next movie with Amazon Studios, titled “Da Understudy.”
Majors will star in and produce the film, under his Tall Street Productions banner, partnering with Westbrook Studios and Amazon. The project tells the story of “life imitating art when the understudy of a Broadway production finds a role he’s willing to kill for.”
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Tom Hanada, Zach Stauss and Tyler Cole wrote the screenplay, which is based on an original story by Cole and developed in-house by Westbrook. Amazon Studios landed the script on spec in a competitive situation.
Sources tell Variety Spike Lee is in very early talks to direct the film, which would reunite the filmmaker and Majors after 2020’s “Da 5 Bloods.”
In addition to Majors, Will Smith, Jon Mone (Westbrook Studios co-president and head of motion pictures) and Mike Soccio will produce the film, with Lee and Tyler Cole serving as executive producers. Ryan Shimazaki will oversee the project on behalf of Westbrook Studios.
The news comes as Majors celebrates back-to-back box office hits, with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Creed III” opening at number one. Playing Kang the Conqueror in “Quantumania” marks Majors’ latest move in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began in 2021 with an appearance as He Who Remains in “Loki” and will extend through at least 2025’s “The Kang Dynasty.” In “Creed III,” Majors stars as Damian “Dame” Anderson, former friend-turned-adversary of director/producer/star Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis Creed. The film’s $58.6 million domestic box office tally set a franchise record among the nine “Rocky” and “Creed” films. And with an international haul of $41.8 million taking the movie over $100 million globally, “Creed III” also celebrates the biggest opening for a sports film.
It’s just another round of good news for the rising star, who broke out with a critically acclaimed performance in 2019’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” for which he was nominated for a Gothan and Independent Spirit Award. He followed that up with similarly lauded work in HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” for which he earned Emmy and Critics Choice nominations; Netflix’s “The Harder They Fall” and Sony/Black Label Media’s “Devotion,” which told the story of war hero Jesse L Brown, who was the first Black aviator in the U.S. Navy.
Earlier this year, Majors made quite a splash at the Sundance Film Festival with a tour de force performance as an amateur bodybuilder in “Magazine Dreams.” The actor also executive produced the film — the first for Tall Street — and the project went on to win the Creative Vision Award. Fox Searchlight landed distribution rights to the project, which is expected to be released later this year.
The next two films in the pipeline for Tall Street are “The Man in My Basement” — the film adaptation of the Walter Mosley novel, starring Majors as Charles Blakely opposite Willem Dafoe — and “48 Hours in Vegas” — which sees the actor portray NBA great Dennis Rodman. The screenplay for the Liongsate movie was written by Jordan VanDina and featured on The Black List in 2021.
Majors is represented by WME, Entertainment 360, Jackoway Austen and The Lede Company. Hanada is represented by Paradigm, Navigation and Hirsch Wallerstein.
Deadline was first to report news of the developing project.
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