Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson

Sam Rockwell and Taraji P. Henson

*Taraji P. Henson will return to the big screen in “The Best of Enemies,” a true-life race drama from director Robin Bissell and Astute Films, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Sam Rockwell, Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, Nick Searcy and John Gallagher Jr. have also joined the cast, as has 2017 BAFTA nominee Babou Ceesay of Showtime’s “Guerilla,” reports Variety.

The story centers on the unlikely friendship between outspoken black activist Ann Atwater (Henson), and Claiborne Paul Ellis (Rockwell), a ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan, both of whom lived in Durham, North Carolina, in the 1960s turbulent civil rights era.

Atwater was a maid who became a social activist while Ellis was a laborer who began attending city meetings to speak on behalf of the poor white working class. The two were put on a committee overseeing the desegregation of schools where, after heated battles and much to their surprise, they discovered common ground: They both cared about the economical and educational well-being of their kids.

The script, which Bissell wrote, is inspired by the book The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South by Osha Gray Davidson.


Shooting is due to start May 22 in Georgia. Rick Jackson and Jeremiah Samuels are exec producing.

Producers include Tobey Maguire and Danny Strong, the latter of whom showruns Henson’s Fox hit, “Empire.” Also producing are Matt Berenson, Fred Bernstein, Dominique Telson, Matthew Plouffe and Bissell.

Below, a trailer for the documentary “An Unlikely Friendship,” which tells the story of Ann Atwater and Claiborne Paul Ellis.

Below, interviews with Ann Atwater, to be played by Henson: