American Fiction is taking shots at the world of publishing.
The film stars Jeffrey Wright as a struggling author who suddenly makes it big — at a cost.
Orion Pictures and Amazon MGM released the trailer on Monday (Oct. 16), which shows Wright’s character Monk talking to his agent about the pitfalls of the publishing industry.
Monk’s agent tells him editors “want a Black book” that feeds into stereotypes and tropes about the Black community. At his wit’s end, Monk decides to write a book titled My Pafology as a joke under the pseudonym Stagg R. Leigh.
The trailer goes on to reveal Monk’s “joke” book actually sells. In order to promote the novel, he decides to take on a fake persona as an ex-convict on the run from authorities.
The book commands so much attention that Monk’s even approached with an offer to adapt it into a feature film. As he tries to keep up with the fame, he finds himself crumbling under the realization that his success has come at the expense of being his true self.
The star-studded cast also includes Tracee Ellis Ross, Erika Alexander, John Ortiz, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, Issa Rae and Sterling K. Brown.
The movie is based on Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure.
According to the official synopsis, the cultural satire “confronts our culture’s obsession with reducing people to outrageous stereotypes.”
The movie marks the directorial debut of Cord Jefferson, who previously worked as a writer and producer on shows like The Good Place, Master of None, and HBO’s Watchman. Before that, Jefferson was a journalist, with bylines in The New Yorker, The Ringer, GQ, and Gawker.
During a press conference previewing the film’s trailer last week, Jefferson explained what he wants to accomplish with American Fiction.
“We didn’t want to do any pull up your pants, respectability politics stuff,” Jefferson said. “All we wanted to do was make a movie that addressed these issues, but also had a ton of levity, had a ton of humor. But also an emotional center in core, and a real emotional heart to the whole thing. We wanted people to leave the theater smiling and laughing with their friends and family.”
The movie premiered at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival to acclaim and won the festival’s People’s Choice Award. Executive producers include Rian Johnson and author Percival Everett.
American Fiction arrives in select theaters on Dec. 15 and will expand nationwide on Dec. 22.
Watch the trailer below.