In a collaboration that it’s safe to say nobody saw coming, Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free are teaming up with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, co-creators of animated series South Park, on an original, live-action comedy movie.
According to a press statement obtained by Billboard, the film is set to “depict the past and present coming to a head when a young Black man, who is interning as a slave re-enactor at a living history museum, discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his.”
A director and title for the film are yet to be announced, but production is slated to begin in spring. Vernon Chatman, a producer on South Park and creator of Xavier: Renegade Angel and Wonder Showzen, is writing the script. The movie will be the first one produced by PgLang: Lamar and Free’s multi-purpose company that acts as a record label, recording studio and publishing house all in one.
But this isn’t Lamar’s first foray into the film industry: he previously worked on the soundtrack for Black Panther.
Billboard reports that Paramount Pictures is responsible for theatrical distribution, home entertainment and television licensing rights on the project. Meanwhile, streaming service Paramount Plus — who recently announced the production of a Beavis and Butthead animated movie — is reportedly set to acquire streaming rights.
“On behalf of Paramount Pictures and the wider ViacomCBS family, we look forward to ushering in the first theatrical collaboration from these creative visionaries, and galvanizing audiences worldwide around a powerful storytelling experience,” Paramount Pictures CEO president Brian Robbins added in the same statement.
While the subject of the movie is bound to cause controversy, this isn’t the first time Parker and Stone have raised eyebrows when it comes to tackling race in some of their projects. South Park was recently renewed for six more seasons and 14 more movies — has faced a number of complaints over the years for their use of anti-Black racial slurs and the treatment of Black characters on the comedy series like Token Black.
Parker and Stone’s characterisation of Black people also proved to be divisive in their 2011 Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, which depicted young Mormon missionaries being sent to Uganda in order to convert local residents to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
With this track record in mind, we are curious to see how this new movie turns out and how people respond to it.