THE WRAP | October 12, 2018 | Trey Williams
HBO announced on Friday that it has acquired the Jeffrey Wright-led film “O.G.”
The film was directed by Emmy-winner Madeleine Sackler (“Dangerous Acts Starring the Unstable Elements of Belarus”) from a script penned by Stephen Belber, who won an Emmy for HBO’s “The Laramie Project.”
“O.G.,” which was filmed entirely at an Indiana max security prison, 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 new arrival Beecher (Theothus Carter), who is being courted by gang leadership, under his wing. 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.
“Over the past four years, I had the unique opportunity to collaborate with men incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility and the staff at the Indiana Department of Correction,” Sackler said in a statement. “Our shared goal was to make a film that would give audiences an authentic glimpse at life inside a maximum security prison. We are thrilled to be partnering with HBO to bring ‘O.G.’ into the world.”
The film also stars Carter and William Fichtner. “O.G.” premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, where Wright won the award for Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film.
O.G. is an HBO Films and Maven Pictures Presentation in association with Brookstreet Pictures, a Great Curve Films production of a Madeleine Sackler film; producers, Madeleine Sackler, Boyd Holbrook, Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray, Nick Gordon, Trevor Matthews, Stephen Belber, Ged Dickersin; executive producers, Sharon Chang, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Mark Steele, Nic Marshall.
“We are proud to bring filmmaker Madeleine Sackler’s film to HBO audiences,” HBO Films president Len Amato said in a statement. “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.”
HBO also announced it has acquired Sackler’s documentary “It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It.” The documentary was shot at Pendleton Correctional Facility during the same time as “O.G.” The documentary is co-directed by Madeleine Sackler and 13 men incarcerated at Pendleton, who study filmmaking as a vehicle to tell their own stories.
Several of the men were also 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.
“It’s a Hard Truth Ain’t It” is an HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Great Curve Films and Stacey Reiss production; a film by Dennis Brown, Marshaun Buggs, Al’Jonon Coleman, James Collins, Franklin Cox, Brandon Crider, Clifford Elswick, Quentis Hardiman, Joseph Henderson, Charles Lawrence, Herb Robertson, Madeleine Sackler, Rushawn Tanksley, Mark Thacker; producers, Madeleine Sackler, Stacey Reiss; executive producers, Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Sharon Chang, Greg Gunn, Dream Hampton, Lisette Nieves, Marshall Sonenshine, Mark Steele.