Revelations Entertainment, the independent movie production company founded and run by Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary, has optioned Arthur T. Burton’s book “Black, Red & Deadly” for a TV series to be developed about legendary Oklahoma lawman Bass Reeves.
Revelations will work on the project with Malcolm Spellman, Ben Watkins, Josef Sawyer and “Grey’s Anatomy” actor James Pickens Jr., according to Deadline.
“When Morgan and I were editing the film he was directing ‘Bopha!’ back in the early ’90s, Bass Reeves’ story was brought to our attention. Morgan is so well read on U.S. and world history, yet both of us had never heard of him. We decided we had to figure out how to tell Bass’ story,” McCreary tells Deadline.
According to The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves was born as a slave in Arkansas Territory and grew up in Texas, where he belonged to Col. George R. Reeves. Bass Reeves was a young man when he escaped north into the Indian Territory, and he became acquainted with the Cherokee, Creek and Seminole tribes.
It is believed he served as a soldier in the Union Indian Home Guard Regiments during the Civil War, and he then became in Van Buren, Arkansas, occasionally acting as a guide, scout and tracker in Indian Territory for deputy U.S. marshals working out of the federal court at Fort Smith.
In 1875, when Judge Isaac C. Parker took over the Fort Smith federal court, Parker commissioned Reeves as a deputy U.S. marshal. He is believed to be one of the earliest African Americans to receive a commission as a deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River, according to the encyclopedia.
Reeves worked for 32 years as a deputy marshal in the Indian Territory. He was the only deputy to begin with Parker’s court and work until statehood in 1907. Standing at 6 feet, 2 inches tall, Reeves became a celebrity as a lawman in Indian Territory.
Although he has been largely overlooked in modern popular culture, Reeves was one of the most accomplished lawmen in the history of the American West: He arrested more than three thousand men and women for violating federal laws in the territory, even apprehending his own son for murder after receiving the warrant, according to the Oklahoma encyclopedia.
The Reeves feature project was originally set up at Castle Rock with Freeman attached to play Reeves, Deadline reports.
“Back then we couldn’t quite crack the story, which was why we were thrilled when Malcom and Ben came in and opened up this world. Bass Reeves’ story speaks to what we are going through now in this country,” McCreary tells Deadline.
Revelations recently re-optioned Burton’s book “Black, Red & Deadly,” along with the author’s “Black Gun, Silver Star.” After seeing Freeman speak about Reeves in a TV interview, Pickens partnered with the Oscar-winning actor to develop the TV series.
It hasn’t been determined whether Freeman will star and direct an episode, according to Deadline.
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1…Read more ›