AceShowbiz - Oscar-winning "12 Years a Slave" screenwriter John Ridley is set to write and direct a film adaptation of his comic book "The American Way: Those Above and Those Below". Ridley will team with Jason Blum to develop the project, which is based on the six-issue DC series he developed with illustrator George Jeanty last year.
The original story line centered around a group of 1960s superheroes, known as the The Civil Defense Corps, who all have superhuman powers and are assigned to specific parts of America. But some eventually start engaging in legal destruction tactics, like terrorism.
The movie will be set in 1972 and use superhero tales to explore social issues, including race relations. It follows Jason Fisher, as he attempts to help a struggling Baltimore community as residents of the Maryland city begin to question his motives.
Ridley has established himself as somewhat of a DC Comics expert and in January, his book "The Other History of the DC Universe" was announced. Set to be released this winter, it delves into the mythology of legendary superheroes like The Green Lantern.
The 52-year-old, who serves as a showrunner on the anthology series "American Crime Story", previously worked on the documentary "Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992". The film tackles the 1991 beating of Rodney King at the hands of Los Angeles police, which sparked the L.A. Riots. He also wrote "Ben-Hur", "Three Kings", and "Undercover Better". Last year, Ridley became attached to direct "Needle in a Timestack", a time travel story based on the novel by Robert Silverman.