As a musician, Janelle Monáe has pushed back against the patriarchal constraints on female sexuality with sultry songs and jaw-dropping music videos. As an actress, she’s focused on stories that not only spotlight Black characters, but also aim to explore the injustices faced by them. She won critical acclaim for supporting roles in Moonlight and Hidden Figures. She currently appears opposite Cynthia Erivo in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet. Next up, she’ll show the horrors of slavery as the lead in Antebellum.
Check out the trailer Monáe tweeted this morning:
This trailer came as a surprise to fans, as details on the project have been kept very, very quiet. Last March, Deadline dropped news that Monáe had signed on to the feature directorial debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz. The filmmaking duo also known as Bush + Renz built their reputation on music videos and advocacy campaigns, including this Michael B. Jordan-fronted PSA about police brutality:
Deadline further reported Bush + Renz would write and direct the unnamed debut feature, which would be produced by Sean McKittrick, who produced Get Out, BlacKkKlansman, and Us. But at the time, there was no hint to the movie’s plotline.
Today, Lionsgate has unveiled Antebellum’s logline on their Youtube page description:
Successful author Veronica Henley (Janelle Monáe) finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it’s too late. ANTEBELLUM is a terrifying new thriller from the producer of the acclaimed films GET OUT and US, and groundbreaking directors Gerard Bush and Christoper Renz (Bush+Renz) - an exciting new voice in filmmaking.
Lionsgate also revealed the cast list. Joining Monáe in Antebellum are Marque Richardson II (Dear White People), Eric Lange (Narcos), Jack Huston (Mr. Mercedes), Kiersey Clemons (Dope), Tongayi Chirisa (iZombie), Gabourey Sidibe (American Horror Story), Rob Aramayo (Nocturnal Animals), Lily Cowles (Roswell, New Mexico), and Jena Malone (The Neon Demon).
And lastly, they unveiled a disturbing poster and a release date to anticipate.
Antebellum opens in theaters April 24, 2020.