Jeffrey Wright Blags A Bestseller In First American Fiction Trailer

American Fiction

by Jordan King |
Updated on

Ever taken a joke a little too far? Pushed the punchline just past the point of no return? It’s usually a one-way ticket to Awkwardsville with a stop at the “Christ, what was I thinking?” service station. But in American Fiction, the debut feature from Watchmen and The Good Place scribe turned writer-director Cord Jefferson, Jeffrey Wright starts a joke that spirals out of control and into a best-selling book. Check out the trailer below to see the set-up;

Adapted from Percival Everett’s novel Erasure, Jefferson’s film centres around frustrated author Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Wright). Tired of the “Black book” trend - which is to say, books about the Black experience that perpetuate racial tropes - Monk decides to take matters into his own hands by parodying the format in the most egregious way possible. “Deadbeat dads, rappers, crack. You said you wanted Black stuff; that’s Black right?” Monk flippantly quips to his agent in the trailer. Next thing you know, his satirical screed - My Pafology by Stagg R. Leigh - is a multi-million dollar movie contract earning, 300,000+ copy selling success. But as Monk’s joke spirals beyond his reach, the lunacy of selling a Black lie to a White America disinterested in stories from Black writers that don’t centralise race only gets increasingly evident. As Monk puts it, “The dumber I behave, the richer I get.”

A timely story about identity and faux industry progressiveness, American Fiction is already a firm favourite on the festival circuit, having won the People’s Choice Award at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. And, boasting a stacked supporting cast that includes among its ranks Tracee Ellis Ross, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, Keith David, Issa Rae, and Sterling K. Brown, it’s hard to spot a single weak link among the creative forces driving the project.

American Fiction releases in cinemas this December.

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