EXCLUSIVE: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s G-Unit Film & Television has optioned Christopher Priest’s comic Xerø for development alongside Color Farm Media as a live-action film with an eye on a franchise.
The film will follow a Black government assassin who weaponizes invisibility by disguising himself as a white man to blend anonymously into the exotic Casino Royale haunts of the international elite. Spanning the gulf between that and the disenfranchised city streets of East St. Louis, Illinois, Trane Walker is a man living in two worlds but taking ownership of neither. Xerø tells the story of his moral awakening and the life-and-death perils it presents.
G-Unit Film & Television will produce the upcoming adaptation alongside Erika Alexander and Ben Arnon for Color Farm, and Joseph Illidge, who serves as CEO of the newly-launched production and publishing company, Illuminous. While Xerø originated as a DC Comics property, rights to the series reverted to Priest in 2008, meaning that the Warner Bros. subsidiary will not be involved with the project.
“There’s no one better than Christopher Priest to bring G-Unit Film & Television into the world of comic book superheroes,” said Jackson. “Watch as we build Xerø into a franchise alongside Christopher and Color Farm Media. I can’t wait for the world to meet Trane Walker in an all new way.”
Said Alexander: “Priest is a master storyteller. Xerø is a powerful project, and we’re thrilled to partner with Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson’s G-Unit Film & Television, the pre-eminent power players.”
Added Illidge: “Xerø is the perfect action hero for our times in a story that is equal parts James Bond and James Baldwin. G-Unit’s legacy of courageous, edge-of-your-seat thrillers about complex protagonists makes them the perfect partner to spearhead this franchise. After working with Christopher on Batman years ago, I’m thrilled to be reuniting with him on Xerø.”
Priest said: “Xerø depicts a slow-moving car wreck at the intersection of race and class. The commonality of struggle represented by the life experiences of Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, G-Unit Film & Television and Color Farm assure a broad depth of first-hand appreciation for that delicate balance. It’s exciting to be working together to create this new world.”
Jackson is an actor, producer, rapper and entrepreneur who founded G-Unit Film & Television in 2005. He exec produced, directed and co-starred in Starz’s hit series Power, and closed a deal with Starz and Lionsgate in October 2018 that has seen him expand its universe as an exec producer on the spinoffs Power Book II: Ghost, Power Book III: Raising Kanan and Power Book IV: Force. Jackson’s company also has produced ABC’s For Life and Starz’s Black Mafia Family, which was renewed last fall for a second season.
This past May, G-Unit’s Confessions of a Crime Queen received a straight-to-series order at Discovery+, with its series Let Me Hear a Rhyme landing at Peacock. WEtv gave its unscripted show Hip Hop Homicides a series order in January. The company is also in development on scripted series including Family Affair for ABC, The 50th Law for Netflix, and Angel’s Playbook and Moment in Time for Starz. It’s simultaneously building out its feature slate, after inking a three-picture horror deal with Eli Roth and 3BlackDot.
Priest has been credited as the first Black comic book writer and editor to work for both Marvel and DC. He has contributed to the writing and editing of such notable comic book series as Spider-Man, Green Lantern, Conan the Barbarian and Deadpool, with his editions of Black Panther being cited as an influence behind Marvel and Disney’s groundbreaking 2018 blockbuster.
Color Farm previously produced the feature documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble, which won Best Documentary at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards. It also produces the award-winning podcast, Reparations: The Big Payback.
Illidge is an award-winning graphic novel editor known for his work on DC Entertainment projects, including Greg Rucka’s Detective Comics series, and Heavy Metal Magazine. The Incal publisher Humanoids released his graphic novel, MPLS Sound, about an ’80s Minneapolis funk group competing to become the next band for legendary musician Prince, in April 2021.
Jackson is represented by APA and attorney Stephen Savva; Color Farm by APA and Untitled Entertainment; Priest by Michael L. Lovitz, Esq.; and Illidge and Illuminous by Moda Legal LLP and Gordon Warnock at Fuse Literary.