DEADLINE | October 12, 2018 | Erik Pedersen
HBO has picked up O.G., a narrative feature starring Jeffrey Wright that was filmed entirely in a maximum-security prison. Directed by Emmy winner Madeleine Sackler and also starring Theothus Carter and William Fichtner, it premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival, where Wright won Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film.
The premium cabler also said today that it has acquired It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It, a documentary shot at Pendleton during the same production period as O.G. More on that film below.
Shot on location at Indiana’s Pendleton Correctional Facility, O.G. follows Louis (Wright), once the head of a prominent prison gang, in the final weeks of his 24-year sentence. His impending release is upended when he takes under his wing new arrival Beecher (Carter), who is being courted by gang leadership. Coming to grips with the indelibility of his crime and the challenge of reentering society, Louis finds his freedom hanging in the balance as he struggles to save Beecher.
“We are proud to bring filmmaker Madeleine Sackler’s film to HBO audiences,” said Len Amato, president of HBO Films. “Groundbreaking in being filmed at an actual prison, with many of the men incarcerated there cast in acting roles, O.G. takes an intimate and unflinching look at the journey of one man – masterfully portrayed by Jeffrey Wright – at the precipice of freedom.”
A Great Curve Films production of a Madeleine Sackler film, O.G. is an HBO Films and Maven Pictures Presentation in association with Brookstreet Pictures. Stephen Belber wrote the script and is a producer alongside Sackler, Boyd Holbrook, Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray, Nick Gordon, Trevor Matthews and Ged Dickersin. Sharon Chang, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Mark Steele and Nic Marshall executive produce.
It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It was shot at Pendleton during the same production period asO.G. The film was co-directed by Sackler and 13 men incarcerated at Pendleton, who study filmmaking as a vehicle to tell their own stories. Several of the inmates also were cast as first-time actors in O.G. In the documentary, they explore their memories and how they ended up with decades-long sentences, with animated sequences by Yoni Goodman (Waltz with Bashir) bringing their stories to life.