An indie drama is in the works about the six black high school students in Louisiana who were initially charged with attempted murder in a 2006 attack on a white student. They came to be known as the “Jena 6.”
The film, titled “Jena Six,” just picked up director Roger Donaldson and will begin production in April in New Orleans, reports Variety.
In the “Jena Six” case, the attack took place several months after a series of racial incidents at the school, including three nooses hanging from a tree on the grounds one day after a black student asked the principal if black students could sit under the tree.
The victim of the attacks was treated at an emergency room for several hours and attended a high school dance that evening.
The six teenagers were arrested and one of them, Mychal Bell, was convicted by an all-white jury of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery — meaning that he faced a sentence of up to 22 years.
News of the conviction sparked outrage and allegations that the prosecution was racially motivated and disproportionate to the crime. A civil rights demonstration drew more than 15,000 protesters to Jena and was attended by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III.
An appeals court found that Bell should not have been tried as an adult. Before his trial as a juvenile began, he agreed to plead guilty to a reduced charge of battery and was sentenced to 18 months with credit for time served. The other five defendants agreed to plead guilty in 2009 to a charge of simple battery and were fined $500 each.
Donaldson, whose recent credits include “November Man” and “The Bank Job,” is directing from a screenplay by Jonathan Amaret.
Celebs Who Hail From Louisiana
1. Wendell Pierce - New Orleans, LASource:PR Photos 1 of 21
2. Toya Wright- New Orleans, LouisianaSource:Instagram 2 of 21
3. Lil' Wayne- New Orleans, LouisianaSource:AP 3 of 21
4. Quvenzhané Wallis- Houma, LASource:PR Photos 4 of 21
5. Anthony Mackie- New Orleans, LouisianaSource:PR Photos 5 of 21
6. Rocsi Diaz- New Orleans, LouisianaSource:PR Photos 6 of 21
7. Paul Mooney- Shreveport, Louisiana7 of 21
8. Frank Ocean- Baton Rouge, Louisiana8 of 21
9. Randy Jackson- Baton Rouge, Louisiana9 of 21
10. J.R. Martinez- Shreveport, Louisiana10 of 21
11. Romeo and Master P- New Orleans, Louisiana11 of 21
12. Birdman- New Orleans, Louisiana12 of 21
13. Nnamdi Asomugha- Lafayette, Louisiana13 of 21
14. Ellen Degeneres- Metairie, Louisiana14 of 21
15. Marshall Faulk- New Orleans,15 of 21
16. Peyton Manning- New Orleans, Louisiana16 of 21
17. Garrett Morris- Morgan City, Louisiana17 of 21
18. Warrick Dunn- Baton Rouge, LA18 of 21
19. Reese Witherspoon- New Orleans, Louisiana19 of 21
20. Louis Armstrong- New Orleans, Louisiana20 of 21
21. Mystikal- New Orleans, Louisiana21 of 21
(Photo Source: Thinkstock)