Will Smith to Lead ‘The Council’ Nicky Barnes Biopic on Netflix
The show, which will be written by Peter Landsman, will zero in on the “never-before-told story of a crime syndicate consisting of seven African-American men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early 80s.” Dubbed “Mr. Untouchable,” the series will center on how a man revolutionized the drug trade to control Harlem and New York City.
He founded The Council in the 1970s, which is composed of seven-man team and was patterned after the Italian mafia. Barnes set up legitimate companies as a front but the Drug Enforcement Administration sniffed out his illegal activities. The Council also hired contract killers to deal with their business dealings.
Barnes was arrested in the late 1970s and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He eventually became an informant for the federal government to indict 44 other drug traffickers.
In August 1998, Barnes was released due to his cooperation with the government and was part of the witness protection program. Because he was under this program, news of his death due to cancer was made known only recently, even when he died in 2012.
The Council will be a reunion for both Smith and Landersman, who worked together in the film Concussion. The series’ other cast members and director have yet to be revealed and Netflix has not yet set the film’s production and release schedule.
Smith was most recently seen in the live-action movie “Aladdin” as the Genie. His next movie, Gemini Man, will open in theaters this October.
The actor will also lead the biopic King Richard, which centers on the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. This movie has been scheduled for release in the fall of next year.