Dee Rees, the Academy Award-nominated writer and director of Mudbound, is set to adapt and direct a new film version of Porgy and Bess, according to Deadline.
“I’m most excited about inviting today’s brightest musical talents to lend new voice and spirit to both the joys and the frustrations of the ongoing struggle of African American citizens in this country,” said Rees in a statement. “In this new adaptation, I’m hoping to raise the stakes for our hero and heroine, giving them full expression of existence placing emphasis not just on the circumstantial but on their rich inner lives and emotional pasts.”
Porgy and Bess, based on DuBose Heyward’s novel with a libretto by Heyward and score by George and Ira Gershwin, was last seen on Broadway in a 2012 revival starring Tony winner Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis. The Met's production, starring Eric Owens and Angel Blue, recently returned for an encore; its final performances are scheduled for February 12 and February 15. It was previously adapted into a 1959 feature film starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge.
Up next, Rees’ adaptation Joan Didion’s The Last Thing He Wanted will be released on Netflix February 21.