Jussie Smollett is set to direct his first film.
The former Empire star will make his directorial debut with an adaptation of the book B-Boy Blues, Deadline reported Tuesday.
The 1994 novel by James Earl Hardy follows the relationship between 27-year-old journalist Mitchell Crawford and 21-year-old bicycle messenger Raheim Rivers. The two meet at a gay bar in Greenwich Village in 1993. Rivers is described as a “B-boy” or “banjee boy,” which is a term that originated in ballroom culture to describe someone with a tough exterior. As Crawford gets to know Rivers, he discovers the many sides of his friend.
Smollett will also produce the film through his new company, SuperMassive Movies. Additional producers include Hardy, Frank Gatson, Sampson McCormick and Madia Hill Scott. The project will go into production on Oct. 17.
The actor previously directed two episodes of Empire before leaving the series in 2019.
Related Story: Jussie Smollett Gives Rare Interview About Alleged Attack (Video)
Outside of his entertainment work, Smollett is still engaged in a legal fight with the city of Chicago over his alleged January 2019 assault. Chicago police said Smollett staged the attack, but the actor has maintained his innocence.
A special prosecutor was appointed to reevaluate the case and the conduct of local prosecutors who dismissed the charges against the actor.
Following grand jury proceedings earlier this year, new charges were filed. Smollett pleaded not guilty and moved to have the new charges against him dropped as well.
The actor has kept a fairly low-profile since his alleged assault, but he did a candid interview in September and opened up about the case.
“They won’t let this go. It doesn’t matter. There is an example being made,” he said. “And the sad thing is that there’s an example being made of someone that did not do what they’re being accused of.”