TriStar To Adapt Book On The Attica Prison Riot Of 1971
The Attica Prison riot of 1971 in Attica, New York, is still considered one of the most well known and significant uprisings of the Prisoners’ Rights Movement. On September 9 1971, two weeks after the killing of Black Panther Party member George Jackson at San Quentin State Prison in California, about 1,000 of the Attica prison’s approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and seized control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage.
The riot was based upon prisoners’ demands for political rights and better living conditions but the negotiations were unsuccessful, with the prison ultimately being taken back by force from the State Police. The incident lasted for four days and resulted in the deaths of 43 people (including correctional officers, civilian employees and inmates).
A new book has been written about the incident and was just released this week (August 23), but even better it’s been optioned by TriStar Pictures for producer Amy Pascal, according to Shadow & Act.
Written by Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, the non fiction book is described as the first definitive account of the infamous 1971 uprising. Thompson used interviews from former inmates, hostages, families of victims, lawyers and state officials, as well as archives of previously unreleased materials, to reveal even more about the beginning and aftermath of the event.
Three TV movies have been made about the Attica Prison riot: Attica (1980) which Morgan Freeman co-starred in; John Frankenheimer’s Against The Wall (1994) with Samuel L. Jackson and Clarence Williams III; and Euzhan Palcy‘s The Killing Yard (2001) with Morris Chestnut and Alan Alda.
In recent years several movie treatments on the uprising have sprung up (with TriStar Pictures being the latest one) but none of them were ever produced. However, hopefully we’ll hear more about a possible film adaptation of Thompson’s book before the year is over.