Mahershala Ali May Star in Forthcoming Prison Drama Solitary

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Mahershala Ali May Star in Forthcoming Prison Drama <i>Solitary</i>

Mahershala Ali is executive producing the forthcoming Fox Searchlight prison drama Solitary and may also star as Albert Woodfox, who spent 43 years in solitary confinement, according to Variety.

The film is based on Albert Woodfox’s 2019 memoir, Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement, My Story of Transformation and Hope. The book chronicles the 43 years Woodfox spent in solitary confinement in Louisiana’s infamous Angola Prison.

Woodfox found himself spending 23 hours a day in a 6-by-7-foot cell, with an hour a day spent in a concrete-fenced exercise yard. But every moment of those four decades was spent alone.

Woodfox, along with Herman Wallace, was arrested on charges of killing a prison corrections officer and convicted in 1974. After activists in the ‘90s pushed for Woodfox’s release, the conviction was overturned in 2014.

Woodfox was released in 2016. He used the $90,000 he was paid as reparations to buy a house in New Orleans.

Both members of the Black Panthers, Woodfox and Wallace, who was released in 2013, three days before dying of terminal cancer, campaigned for prison reform through protests and hunger strikes while in jail.

Without a director or screenwriter signed on yet, the movie is still in its early stages, but it will be produced by Jamie Patricof and Anonymous Content.

Patricof and Ali aren’t strangers: They worked together previously on the 2013 film, The Place Beyond the Pines.

But Ali is perhaps best known for his role in 2016’s Moonlight, which landed him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, as did his portrayal of famed pianist Dr. Donald Shirley in Green Book.

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