From the mind of Clemency director Chinonye Chukwu comes the biopic Till, a film about Mamie Till-Mobley’s search for justice following the lynching of her 14-year-old son Emmett Till in Mississippi circa 1955.
The movie’s official logline reads, “In Mamie’s poignant journey of grief turned to action, we see the universal power of a mother’s ability to change the world.”
Danielle Deadwyler (P-Valley and The Harder They Fall) will portray Till-Mobley, and Jalyn Hall will portray Till. Till, the film, is also written by Chuku and based on research by filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, whose documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Till, partially led to the U.S. Department of Justice reopening the case in 2004.
Chukwu issued a director’s statement to coincide with the trailer’s release. “When I was approached to write and direct a story about Emmett Till, I found myself drawn to a singular figure at the center of his orbit,” she explained. “I saw an opportunity to subvert expectations and approach the narrative through another lens—from the maternal point of view of Mamie Till Mobley. Had it not been for Mamie, her son’s memory would have evaporated into thin air. She was the catalyst for a modern day civil rights movement that has laid a formidable framework for future activists and Freedom Fighters. I felt compelled to champion Mamie’s legacy and center her in the spotlight where she rightfully belongs.”
She continued, “Mamie’s untold story is one of resilience and courage in the face of adversity and unspeakable devastation. For me, the opportunity to focus the film on Mamie, a multi-faceted Black woman, and peel back the layers on this particular chapter in her life, was a tall order I accepted with deep respect and responsibility. On the daily, Mamie combatted racism, sexism, and misogyny, which was exponentially heightened in the wake of Emmett’s murder. Mamie did not cower. Instead, she evolved into a warrior for justice who helped me to understand and shape my own similar journey in activism. And as a filmmaker, showing Mamie in all her complex humanity was of utmost importance.”
When opting to omit the traumatic violence Emmett endured, Chukwu chose to focus on Mamie’s love for her child. “…At its core, TILL is a love story,” she stated. “Amidst the inherent pain and heartbreak, it was critical for me to ground their affection throughout the film. The cinematic language and tone of TILL was deeply rooted in the balance between loss in the absence of love; the inconsolable grief in the absence of joy; and the embrace of Black life alongside the heart wrenching loss of a child.”
Whoopi Goldberg was initially set to direct the biopic when it was first announced in 2016. However, she will now co-star in the film, alongside Frankie Faison, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tosin Cole, and more.
Till will premiere in select theaters on October 14, ahead of its full-scale release on October 28. Watch the full trailer above.