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Will Smith to play crime boss Nicky Barnes in Netflix’s The Council

Staff Writer

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Will Smith will play crime boss Nicky Barnes in Netflix’s The Council.

The film, which is written by Peter Landesman (Concussion, Parkland), chronicles the never-before told story of a crime syndicate consisting of seven men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early 80s. No ordinary crime syndicate – the men dreamed of a self-sufficient and self-policing African American city-state – it was funded by revolutionizing the drug game. The movie centers on the Shakespearean court intrigue between The Council’s king, Nicky Barnes, dubbed “Mr. Untouchable” by the New York Times, and all the different members as one unlikely rising protégé emerges.

Barnes, whose death was recently made known, was an American crime boss, active in New York City during the 1970s who led an international drug trafficking ring, in partnership with the Italian-American Mafia, until his arrest in 1978. Barnes was sentenced to life imprisonment, eventually becoming a federal informant.

Smith has been cast as Barnes, which will see the actor step back into the ring of such roles as Ali, and, in time, could well see him compete in the awards race for a long-overdue gong.

Smith and James Lassiter are producing for Westbrook Inc.’s Overbrook Entertainment, alongside Jackson Pictures’ Matt Jackson and Jason Essex for Anonymous Nobodies.

Executive Producers include tPeter Landesman, Jackson Pictures’ Joanne Lee and David Lee for Anonymous Nobodies

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