Author Bridgett M. Davis is adapting her own work while Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage is consulting on the project.
Plan B Entertainment, the Brad Pitt-fronted production banner behind Oscar winners Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave, has teamed up with Searchlight Pictures to adapt The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, a memoir by Bridgett M. Davis.
Davis is writing the script. The project is also getting an assist from Lynn Nottage, who is acting as a consultant. Nottage, the only woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice for her plays Ruined and Sweat, is known for her work as a mentor of playwrights and a dramaturge, and will apply that skillset to the film project.
Plan B will produce.
Fannie Davis tells the true story of Davis’ mother, a woman who “made a way of no way” her motto as she did whatever it took to offer her children a middle-class life in 1960s and 1970s Detroit. In this case, it meant that Davis’ mother became part bookie and part banker to run a numbers racket out of her home, allowing her children to go to good schools and have nice clothes, all the while keeping the entire operation a secret.
The book was praised for being a look at a slice of Black America, showcasing what a marginalized class had to do to break down obstacles to the middle-class American Dream. The numbers, as the long-standing racket was known, was dominated by men and offered ways for the Black community to lift itself up from poverty by giving them access to cash when normal mainstream ways didn’t.
Director of production Zahra Phillips and manage of production Apolline Berty are overseeing for Searchlight. Gabby Shepard is running point for Plan B.
The banner last produced Ad Astra, which starred Pitt, and indie The Last Black Man in San Francisco.
Davis, the creative writing and journalism professor at Baruch College, is repped by CAA and Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary. Nottage, who is additionally an associate professor of playwriting at Columbia University, is repped by CAA and Manage-ment.