‘Till’ Channels Mamie Till-Mobley’s ‘Spirit, Mind, Body and Soul,’ Director Says

Frankie Faison, Chinonye Chukwu, Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall, Sean Patrick Thomas, John Douglas Thompson attend the Los Angeles premiere of Till on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. (Courtesy Eric Charbonneau)

Till tells the story of a heartbroken mother who turned her grief into action.

The film follows Mamie Till-Mobley’s fight for justice after her 14-year-old son Emmett Till was lynched in rural Mississippi in 1955.

The project stars Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till-Mobley and Jalyn Hall as Emmett Till, alongside Frankie Faison, Haley Bennett, Sean Patrick Thomas, John Douglas Thompson, and Whoopi Goldberg.

Chinonye Chukwu directed the drama and co-wrote the script with Michael Reilly and Keith Beauchamp.

Related Story: ‘Till’ Trailer Follows Emmett Till’s Life and His Mother’s Painful Journey

Till Movie (Credit: Lynsey Weatherspoon/Orion Pictures)
Till Movie (Credit: Lynsey Weatherspoon/Orion Pictures)

At the film’s Oct. 8 premiere in Los Angeles, Chukwu said lead actress Deadwyler brought the movie to life with her deeply emotional and layered performance.

“Danielle is transcendent in this film and she really channels Mamie’s spirit, mind, body and soul,” said Chukwu.

The filmmaker added that everyone involved in the project was committed to telling this story.

“Everybody is just so spectacular in this film, from the cast and the crew, we all gave our all and really were working with the intention of honoring Mamie’s legacy and centering her in her rightful place in history,” she said.

Emmett was visiting relatives in the Mississippi Delta region, when he was accused of whistling at a white woman at a local store. Days later, the teenager from Chicago was abducted, beaten, lynched and shot. He died on Aug. 28, 1955.

Related Story: Mississippi Grand Jury Refuses to Indict Emmett Till Accuser

His death spurred the modern Civil Rights movement, and the story continues to resonate 67 years later.

In July, Chukwu spoke with a group of Black journalists via Zoom and said she felt a tremendous sense of responsibility after being asked to write and direct Till.

The film from MGM’s Orion Pictures debuted earlier this month at the New York Film Festival and has received positive reviews from critics.

The drama is produced by Keith Beauchamp, Barbara Broccoli, Whoopi Goldberg, Thomas Levine, Michael Reilly, and Frederick Zollo.

Till opens in select theaters on Friday, Oct. 14, and expands nationwide on Oct. 28.

Watch the interview with the director below.