August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson being adapted for Netflix

The Piano Lesson
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The work of August Wilson, one of America’s greatest playwrights, has had a flurry of film adaptations in recent years. It began when Denzel Washington adapted, starred in and directed Fences in 2016, with he and Viola Davis reprising the roles they previously played on Broadway. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was then adapted for Netflix in 2020, which saw Davis share the screen the late Chadwick Boseman.

The third play to be adapted will be The Piano Lesson. Wilson wrote ten plays in what became known as ‘The Pittsburgh Cycle’, with each play taking place in a separate decade – Fences was set in the 1950s, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was set in the 1920s, and The Piano Lesson takes place in the 1930s, in the aftermath of the Great Depression. The plot “follows the lives of the Charles family in the Doaker Charles household and an heirloom, the family piano, which is decorated with designs carved by an enslaved ancestor”.

John David Washington is set to star opposite Samuel L Jackson. Other cast members include Ray Fisher, Danielle Deadwyler, Michael Potts and Corey Hawkins.

It’s a family affair, as Malcolm Washington will make his directorial debut from the script he adapted with Mudbound writer Virgil Williams, while Denzel Washington will produce alongside Todd Black. Washington previously expressed a desire to adapt the entirety of Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle to the screen.

The Piano Lesson will be released on Netflix, we’ll keep you updated as we hear more.


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