I'm a Virgo

Boots Riley, the filmmaker behind 2018’s savage cinematic satire Sorry to Bother You, seems to have found his next project.

Earlier today on Twitter, Riley teased that he was developing a new TV series called I’m a Virgo, which is about a 13-foot tall Black man living in Oakland, California. Whoa.

I’m a Virgo Announcement

Riley, an activist musician filmmaker, has an intimate relationship with the city of Oakland. His hip-hop/punk/soul band, The Coup, is based there, it’s where Sorry to Bother You is set, and it’s ground zero for many of the issues Boots has been talking about for decades, with gentrification being a particularly big one. I wouldn’t be surprised if every project he makes is set in that area from now on, and since Oakland isn’t often seen in film and television, I’d love to see him put that city in the spotlight a little more frequently.

Jharrel Jerome, who won an Emmy for his outstanding, heartbreaking, and devastating portrayal of Korey Wise on Ava DuVernay’s powerful Netflix series When They See Us, is attached to play the lead role in I’m a Virgo, which Riley refers to as “dark, absurd, hilarious, and important.” Those descriptions may sound familiar to anyone who saw Sorry to Bother You, Riley’s bonkers feature film debut which announced him as a vital voice in the entertainment industry. I’m also excited to see more from Jerome, whose credits include Moonlight, Selah and the Spades, and the Audience Network original series Mr. Mercedes.

It’s not clear yet what network or streaming service might be the home for I’m a Virgo, but it seems unlikely that it would be Amazon, since Riley savagely parodied that company in Sorry to Bother You and I don’t imagine Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has much of a sense of humor when things hit that close to home. I’m just hoping it’s on a platform where tons of people will have access to it, both because I want more people to discover Jerome’s talents and because Riley is one of those filmmakers whose voice is so unique that a new show from him could easily cut through the boring stuff and become a major talking point. (Especially when it has a premise as compelling as this one.)

Riley says he’s making the show with Media Res, the production company behind the AppleTV+ series The Morning Show and the upcoming TV versions of the popular novel Pachinko and the David Cronenberg movie Scanners.

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