Actor Kelvin Harrison Jr. is set to play the role of the great artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the upcoming biopic Samo Lives.
Complex reports that the film will focus on “the life and impact of the legendary artist’s work, which was integral to the 1980s Neo-expressionism movement.”
Julius Onah, the film’s director said in a statement, “Jean-Michel Basquiat redefined the idea of who ascends to the highest altitudes of the fine art world. But the complexity and richness of his experience as an artist and child of the African diaspora has yet to be dramatized in the manner it deserves.”
He went on to speak on getting Harrison for the film, “It’s an honor to work with Kelvin and my collaborators, and with Endeavor Content, to celebrate the legacy of an artist who has invited audiences everywhere to be inspired by the transformative power of art.”
Onah also discussed when he discovered Basquiat’s work at the age of 14. “It was a gateway for a kid desperate to find artists he could see himself in. But the older I got and the more I learned about Jean-Michel, the more I began to feel his story hadn’t fully been told in cinema.”
The director continued, “Never have we seen the full spectrum of Basquiat’s incredible life as a Black artist and a child of the immigrant African diaspora. And the richness and nuance of his journey is a story worthy of celebration.”
Julius Onah and Kelvin Harrison Jr. have worked together on the critically acclaimed film Luce, which gained Harrison a nomination at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
There is no word on when the film is set to be released.