George C. Wolfe, who directed Viola Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman to Oscar nominations in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, is turning his lens on another unsung hero of queer Black history: Civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, architect of the 1963 March on Washington and a close advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Netflix released the first trailer for Rustin on Monday, Aug. 28, coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The biopic looks back at Rustin's efforts to organize the demonstration, in spite of the detractors who thought his sexuality would derail the movement. Because as Rustin (played by Colman Domingo) declares in the trailer, "On the day that I was born Black, I was also born a homosexual."
The cast also includes Chris Rock as NAACP executive director Roy Wilkins, Glynn Turman as A. Philip Randolph, Jeffrey Wright as Adam Clayton Powell Jr., Audra McDonald as Ella Baker, CCH Pounder as Dr. Anna Hedgeman, and Aml Ameen as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hailing from Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions, Rustin was directed by Wolfe from a screenplay by Julian Breece and Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk), the latter of whom explained to A.frame, "Bayard Rustin's story is an inspiring one to me because it shows the interconnectedness between the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Queer Liberation Movement in the United States."
"I find it an incredibly moving story, and important right now, because [we need to] build those coalitions between groups that might be very different but both believe we ought to be able to be ourselves with all of our differences, and have that not just celebrated but protected," Black told A.frame. "We have to step up for our brothers and sisters and other civil rights movements if we want to keep our own rights."
Rustin will premiere during this year's Toronto International Film Festival, before opening in select theaters on Nov. 3 and streaming on Netflix starting Nov. 17. Watch the trailer below.