Netflix is about to launch a huge mob biopic that reportedly tells the real story behind Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance. The movie will premiere in theaters in November, right in time for Oscar season, and then it will be made available for free for all subscribers of the popular streaming service. But Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman won’t be Netflix’s only film based on organized crime in the 1970s. The studio announced that Will Smith will star in The Council, a film based on the life of notorious crime boss Nicky Barnes.
Will Smith has already worked with Netflix in the past. He starred the Bright, a fantasy flick that didn’t receive much critical acclaim but was popular enough for a sequel that’s already in the works. The Council, meanwhile, is based on real-life events, likely looking at the formation and ultimate destruction of a powerful crime syndicate of seven African-American men led by Nicky Barnes:
The Council is the never-before-told story of a crime syndicate consisting of seven African-American men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early 80s. No ordinary crime syndicate – the men dreamed of a self-sufficient and self-policing African American city-state, funded by revolutionizing the drug game. The movie centers on the Shakespearean court intrigue between The Council’s king, Nicky Barnes, dubbed ‘Mr. Untouchable’ by the New York Times, and all the different members as one unlikely rising protégé emerges.
Barnes was arrested in 1978 and eventually became a federal informant who helped bring down the Council. Barnes wrote a book called Mr. Untouchable in 2007 before dying in 2012. While Smith will play Barnes in the new Netflix movie, it’s unclear who else is starring in the film since Netflix is yet to announce the full cast. A release date for The Council also hasn’t yet been announced.
Peter Landesman will write the screenplay and executive produce alongside Joanne Lee and David Lee, with James Lassiter, Will Smith, Matt Jackson, and Jason Essex producing the film for Netflix.