Whoopi Goldberg Is Making & Starring In A Movie About Emmett Till’s Mother
“We have waited a very long time to bring this historically necessary important film to people.”
Whoopi Goldberg’s next role will be a monumental and historic one. The actress and comedian will star in an upcoming film surrounding the murder of Emmett Till. In Till, The View co-host will portray the young boy’s grandmother Alma Carthan, while The Haves and the Have Nots actress Danielle Deadwyler will star as Mamie Till-Mobley, Emmett’s mother. Together the two women will fight for justice in the 14-year-old’s brutal murder.
“We have waited a very long time to bring this historically necessary important film to people,” Goldberg told Variety. “And as we watch the repression of American History when it comes to people of color it makes it even that more important.”
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was visiting his family in Mississippi for the summer in 1955. While there he was accused of flirting and whistling at a white woman, 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, at a grocery store. The allegation spread and on Aug. 28, 1955, the teenage boy was kidnapped from his family’s home, beaten, mutilated, shot in the head, and then his body was dumped in the Tallahatchie River by Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam. His body was found three days later.
Later in life, as The New York Times reported, Bryant admitted her accusations against Emmett were false and to this day no one has been brought to justice for his murder. This past Sunday, Emmett was celebrated on what would’ve been his 80th birthday and a plaque was unveiled at his home in Chicago.
The upcoming movie Till will focus on the aftermath of the teen’s murder and Mobley-Till’s journey to get him justice, including her decision to have an open-casket funeral, despite her son’s grotesque appearance and allowing JET Magazine to publish David Jackson’s photos. “I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby,” Mobley-Till said later about her decision to show Emmett’s open casket photos. It was a brave decision that sparked the Civil Rights Movement.
“I am charged with humility and great will to embody her life at such an integral moment of personal tragedy and political rebellion, a boon to the civil rights movement, and to represent the joy in the love and life shared between Mamie Till and her beloved Emmett Till,” Deadwyler shared with Variety. “I am grateful for the women who support me as the one to carry the labor of this embodiment and as an inheritor of such a lineage.”
Goldberg is also a producer on the project, alongside Keith Beauchamp, Barbara Broccoli, Thomas K. Levine, Michael JP Reilly, and Frederick Zollo. There is no premiere date or rating set for Till yet, though photography on the movie will reportedly begin in September in Atlanta.
Though it’s been 66 years since Emmett’s murder, his family still has not gotten justice. And while it was reported last year that the U.S. Department of Justice closed the case. his family has said that it's still very much open. “That’s all we know, that it’s still open,” Till family member Marvel Parker told the Clarion-Ledger.
And as long as there are living witnesses they are not giving up hope. “We want justice," Emmett’s cousin, Ollie Gordon told the Clarion-Ledger. “As long as Carolyn Bryant is still breathing we want justice.