Local Current Blog

Beyoncé director to turn Marlon James’s ‘History of Seven Killings’ into Amazon series

Marlon James after winning the Man Booker Prize in 2015. (Neil Hall - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

Author, and Macalester College professor, Marlon James has signed a deal for an Amazon Prime series based on his 2014 novel A Brief History of Seven Killings. James will write the script, while Melina Matsoukas will direct and executive produce the series. Matsoukas, who began her career directing music videos, is best-known as the director of the HBO series Insecure and Beyonce’s “Formation” music video. Other producers will include Jill Soloway, creator of the Amazon series Transparent; Eric Roth, writer of Forrest Gump; and Malcom Spellman, writer and co-executive producer of Empire.

A Brief History of Seven Killings begins with the story of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in 1976 and uses this event to explore the themes of gang wars and political violence in Jamaica and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. The story’s cast of characters includes gunmen, drug dealers, CIA agents, and even a few ghosts. The novel has won a number of awards, including the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

A Brief History of Seven Killings is a complex story that needs to be told, about a people whose voices need to be heard,” Matsoukas told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s been my dream to bring this story to life onscreen since reading the first line of Marlon’s book. I am deeply honored to be entrusted with this tapestry of stories so entrenched in roots, reggae, race, mysticism and politics, while working alongside Marlon to ensure an authentic portrayal of his words.”

A release date for the series has not yet been announced.

Colleen Cowie is a student at Macalester College. She hosts the show Locally Sourced on WMCN.