Craig Brewer to Direct "Gang Leader for a Day"

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Add another project to Memphis filmmaker Craig Brewer's bulging "to do" list.

Film industry trade publication Variety reported earlier this week that Paramount Vantage, the studio that produced Brewer's last film, Black Snake Moan, has optioned the rights to Columbia University professor Sudhir Venkatesh's book Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets, with Brewer attached to direct.

Sopranos writer Michael Caleo has been tabbed to handle the script, with Stephanie Allain, Brewer's partner in his Southern Cross the Dog production company, set to produce.

But just because this project has hit the news this week, don't expect it to begin shooting any time soon. For Brewer, who says he and Allain sought out the project and brought it to Paramount Vantage, it's yet another project in the development pipeline. Gang Leader for a Day, which is about Venkatesh's years spent researching the Black Kings, a Chicago-area street gang that was involved in crack cocaine distribution, is in a similar place developmentally with another, previously announced Brewer project: the Charley Pride biopic he is developing with Hustle & Flow star Terrence Howard.

The rights to both films are owned by Paramount Vantage and are being developed via Brewer's production company, with Brewer set to direct. In both cases, screenwriters have been hired and Brewer is waiting on a completed script. In addition to these two projects, Brewer's long-anticipated country music film, Maggie Lynn, is also still awaiting a final studio go-ahead.

In all, Brewer has at least six projects in various states of development. Contacted this morning, Brewer, who declined to comment about the Variety story, said that he wouldn't want to guess which project would begin shooting first.

— Chris Herrington

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