Ashton Sanders is putting on his producer’s hat. Via his 1237 Production banner, he has secured both the film and television rights for A More Unbending Battle: The Harlem Hellfighter’s Struggle for Freedom in WWI and Equality at Home.
The nonfiction novel from Peter Nelson (per Deadline‘s exclusive report) “details the little-known story of the 369th Infantry Regiment, the first African-American regiment mustered to fight in World War I in the face of discrimination both at home and abroad, defending a nation that refused them basic human rights.“
The report continues, “Despite extraordinary odds, this rag-tag group, known as the Harlem Hellfighters, became one of the most successful regiments of the war, spending longer than any other American regiment in combat and becoming the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine. The regiment never lost a foot of ground nor a prisoner in 191 days of combat. 170 soldiers in the 369th Infantry were awarded the Croix de Guerre — a military distinction of France — for their efforts fighting alongside the French.”
Sanders would star in the project as Henry Johnson, the “most celebrated” of the group. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama in 2015.
“Since the moment I discovered this incredibly rich piece of history documenting the Harlem Hellfighters, I have wanted to bring the stories of these courageous and inspiring men to life,” said Sanders. “In addition to the war, some of the most moving chapters are about the politics involved in the recruitment of these men as well as their reassimilation into society after the war.”
Also on Sanders’ production docket is Feather, which has been adapted by Randy McKinnon, based on Coretta Scott King’s novel, The First Part Last.
The Moonlight star was seen earlier this year in Netflix’s All Day and a Night. He’ll be seen soon opposite Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield and Dominique Fishback in Warner Bros.’ Judas and the Black Messiah.
He is also prepping the war film The Things They Carried, as well as season 2o of Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga.