Apple already has some big stars on its roster, but the corporate giant is now looking for awards contention once its streaming package begins. Per Deadline, they’ve acquired the rights for The Banker, a fact-based period drama written and directed by George Nolfi.
Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson are on board to play entrepreneurs Bernard Garrett and Joe Morris who tried to circumvent the racial limitations of the 1950s by helping African Americans get loans in Texas, turning their business savvy into social activism.
They enlisted a working class white man (Nicholas Hoult) to be their front man, and Garrett’s wife (Nia Long) also played a big role, while they posed as janitor and chauffeur.
Having become wealthy, they covertly purchased two banks in Texas, unheard of in the Jim Crow era deep south. The goal was to acquire a controlling interest in the First National Bank Of Marlin, and quietly provide loans to the black community there. Unfortunately, when the white banking establishment figured out what was happening, the men were placed at great personal risk.
This is arguably the biggest move from Apple TV+ so far. While they have a show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon in the works, and an upcoming series from Damien Chazelle, this news signals that they’re aiming to be very much in play for major movie awards too. The plan is reportedly for a significant theatrical release during awards season.
The film has an excellent premise and if Apple is happy to bankroll original films like this alongside their TV shows, that can only be good news. They already have Sofia Coppola directing On The Rocks for them, while they’ve also bought the rights to the Sundance favourites Hala and The Elephant Queen.
It’s currently unclear when The Banker is expected to arrive, but common sense dictates awards season 2020. Obviously we still know very little about Apple TV+, but the company is certainly building an impressive collection of content.