The Watsons Go To Birmingham, a Hallmark Channel Original Movie, is the upcoming film adaptation of Christopher Paul Curtis‘ civil rights era fiction novel of the same name.
Directed by Kenny Leon (Lifetime‘s Steel Magnolias remake), the feature stars Anika Noni Rose (Princess & The Frog / Dreamgirls), David Alan Grier (In Living Color / Peeples), Skai Jackson (Disney sitcom Jessie), LaTanya Richardson (The Fighting Temptations), Wood Harris (Remember the Titans / The Wire), Bryce Jenkins (Easy A), Pauletta Washington (Beloved), and Harrison Knight.
Produced by Tonya Lewis Lee — who also adapted the script, and Nikki Silver, the film centers on an African American family living in the town of Flint, Michigan, who visit their grandmother’s home in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, a turbulent time during the civil rights movement.
Check out the full synopsis and watch two new clips below:
Set in the Summer of 1963, Flint, Michigan is home to the Watsons, a close knit “All American Family” made up of Daniel and Wilona Watson (Harris and Rose) and their three kids, 15 year-old juvenile delinquent Byron (Knight), nerdy 11 year-old Kenny (Jenkins) and eight year-old adorable sister Joetta (Jackson).
When Byron’s antics go over the top, his parents realize enough is enough and they decide the family needs a dose of Grandma Sands (Richardson) no nonsense approach in Birmingham, Alabama.
So the Watsons load up the 1948 Plymouth Brown Bomber outfitted with a true tone Ultra-Glide turntable and head South with plenty of comedy en route. When they finally make it to Birmingham, they meet Grandma Sands and her friend, Mr. Robert (Grier), who show them around town, and the Watsons discover that life is very different there than in Flint – and not necessarily for the better.
During that historic summer, the Watsons find themselves caught up in something far bigger than Byron’s antics. Something that will change their lives and country forever.
“What they get ‘caught up in’ is the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in September, 1963,” reveals ShadowAndAct, “which proved to be one of the pivotal events of that year in the fight for civil rights.”
As Curtis’ first novel, it received a Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Golden Kite Award.
The film project is part of Walmart and P&G Present Walden Family Theater, a new series of family movies created by Walmart, P&G, Walden Media and ARC Entertainment.
Tune in for the re-airing on Friday, September 27th at 8pm ET/PT, 7C.