In 1982, Samuel L. Jackson appeared along with playwright Eugene Lee and Denzel Washington as part of the ensemble cast in the original Off-Broadway production of Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play A Soldier’s Play. More than 30 years later, Jackson is teaming with Lee again in the screen adaption of Lee’s Pulitzer-nominated play East Texas Hot Links. Jackson is set to co-executive produce the movie while Lee will adapt it for the big screen and serve as the director.
East Texas Hot Links tells the story of a small African American community in 1955 Texas. The play takes place during a single night in the Top o’ the Hill Café, where a “betrayal endangers the lives of the community.” Lee’s play originally premiered in 1991 at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles with Loretta Devine in a starring role. A review of the production at the time noted, “the performances are gripping, honest and filled with humor.”
Casting for East Texas Hot Links is currently underway with John Beasley star of TV Land’s “The Soul Man” in the role of “Boochie Reed.” Beasley also serves as a producer. The movie is scheduled to begin shooting next spring in Los Angeles.
In addition to East Texas Hot Links, Lee has written Fear Itself, Somebody Called: A Tale of Two Preachers, Killingsworth, The Rest of Me, the musical Twist, and Lyin’ Ass. He also has appeared on Broadway in August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, and as a company member for the Kennedy Center’s 10-play cycle tribute to Wilson. His television credits include “Good Times,” “The White Shadow,” and “The Women of Brewster Place.” He is currently the Artist in Residence and Artistic Director of the Texas State University Black and Latino Playwright’s Conference.
Jackson has enjoyed a long career on the stage including 1990’s Broadway production of Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Most recently, he starred alongside Angela Bassett in Katori Hall’s Olivier Award-winning drama The Mountaintop as “Dr. Martin Luther King.”