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Acclaimed American Fiction, Starring Jeffrey Wright

December 15th, 2023Acclaimed American Fiction, Starring Jeffrey Wright

AMERICAN FICTION opens December 15th

Some of cinema’s most acclaimed and celebrated stories in recent memory have come from Black artists with a unique perspective to share about the state of art itself these days. One such up-and-coming Black artist is Cord Jefferson, who is making his directorial debut in 2023 with AMERICAN FICTION.

This comedic drama has already earned raves from critics and won several esteemed accolades, such as the American Film Institute’s selection for Movie of the Year and the People’s Choice Award for Best Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2023. The thought-provoking movie also boasts a stellar all-star cast and more to look forward to. Before you purchase your ticket, let’s take a look at all the basic facts to know about AMERICAN FICTION in our guide below.

A Sharp Cultural Satire

Based on the 2001 novel “Erasure” by Percival Everett, AMERICAN FICTION tells the story of Thelonious “Monk” Ellison — a Black, veteran novelist still struggling to find the success he has longed for with a best-seller of his own. When he comes across a younger Black novelist named Sintara Golden — who has gained wide acclaim and notoriety for her book, “We’s Lives in Da Ghetto” — his frustration grows as he believes the book is just another example of soulless, stereotypical fluff that mainstream publishers profit off of by calling it brave.

Pressured by his fiercest critics to also write something “Blacker” than what he is known for, he decides to give them what they want by writing his own piece of fluff, but under a pseudonym and purely out of spite and disdain for what it represents. However, the novel, “My Pafology,” actually gets published and becomes a huge hit, making his alter ego, Stagg R. Leigh, more famous, acclaimed, and rich than Monk has ever dreamed. From there, the author is faced with a moral dilemma: give in to the hypocrisy he disdains and enjoy the success he has craved for years — but while posing as a different person — or be true to his ambitions and integrity and come clean.

Jeffrey Wright Leads

Leading the AMERICAN FICTION cast as Monk is Jeffrey Wright, whose first major acting breakthrough came when he portrayed another renowned Black artist in the 1996 biopic, BASQUIAT. He later became better known for stealing the show in many notable supporting roles — such as his Emmy-winning turn in the HBO miniseries, “Angels in America,” his version of Lt. James Gordon from 2022’s THE BATMAN and performance as CIA agent Felix Leiter in the Daniel Craig-era Bond films.

Also starring in AMERICAN FICTION as Monk’s family is Tracee Ellis Ross of “Black-ish” fame as his sister Lisa, three-time Emmy-winning “This is Us” star Sterling K. Brown as his brother Cliff, who is a surgeon; and, as his mother Agnes, the legendary Leslie Uggams, who is reprising the role of Blind Al in the upcoming DEADPOOL 3. Sintara Golden is played by Issa Rae from HBO’s “Insecure” — which she created — and BARBIE star John Ortiz — known for movies such as STEVE JOBS and THE FALLOUT — plays Monk’s literary agent, Arthur.

Cord Jefferson Directs

As established, AMERICAN FICTION is Cord Jefferson’s first effort as a director, but it also marks his feature-length debut, overall, as a writer and producer. However, this is far from his first time working in show business, having started out in 2014 as a writer for the Starz drama “Survivor’s Remorse” before joining the staff for Larry Wilmore’s short-lived late night satirical program “The Nightly Show” for Comedy Central the following year.

Jefferson went on to write for more acclaimed TV comedies like Netflix’s “Master of None” and NBC’s “The Good Place” before lending his talent and perspective to HBO’s limited series continuation of the revolutionary graphic novel “Watchmen” in 2019, for which he won an Emmy that he shared with Damon Lindelof. Most recently, he wrote for the post-apocalyptic, Max original miniseries, “Station Eleven.”

Watch The Trailer

Audiences looking for a taste of the satirical humor to be found in AMERICAN FICTION should look no further than the film’s official trailer. Check it out below:

It is the kind of teaser that opens with a clever misdirect, at first appearing to be a more earnest take on literature from a Black perspective by the way Issa Rae’s Sintara Golden describes the inspiration for her novel. That is, until the music cuts out and her book excerpt proves to be the kind of derivative, stereotypical stuff that has been a thorn in Monk’s side. The stunt he pulls as a result from writing “The Pafology” soon grows into a beast beyond his control — forcing him to speak to book publishers with a fake accent, conduct TV interviews without showing his face, and tolerate horribly misguided suggestions for the proposed movie adaptation.

Check out one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, AMERICAN FICTION, when it comes to an AMC Theatres location near you!

AMERICAN FICTION opens December 15th

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