Seith Mann’s diverse and extensive directing resume includes episodes of shows like The Wire, Fringe, Californication, and Heroes. Now, he’s set to make his feature film debut with an adaptation of the gritty graphic novel Miss: Better Living Through Crime.
The comic is an unconventional crime Noir story that’s as enthralling as it is thought-provoking. Although inarguably visceral and stylized, Miss: Better Living Through Crime also displays a great deal of subtlety with its slow-burn character development and social commentary that never devolves into preaching.
Given Mann’s past experience, it’s probably not hard to imagine why executive producer Spike Lee thought he’d be well-suited for the gig. Here’s the synopsis of Miss: Better Living Through Crime:
Set during the early 1900s in New York, Miss tells the tale of two unlikely partners in crime, Enola and Slim. Enola is a poor white girl who has learned to survive by hook or by crook since being expelled from the orphanage. Slim is a black pimp with an uncertain past, trying to keep one foot out of the grave. When their paths cross, and their options run out, Enola and Slim forge a partnership as murderers for hire. This is their story ... what it takes to survive when all you have is a gun.
Created by authors Philippe Thirault, Marc Riou, and Mark Vigouroux, the comic was released by Humanoids Publishing in 2002. Hicham Benkirane was a development executive for Humanoids at the time and retained the rights to Miss and several other titles when he started the production company Vigilante Entertainment last year.
Benkirane reveals what makes Mann such a great fit for the material:
“Watching Seith’s work, you see he really knows how to develop characters and show their humanity… In addition to that, he really gets that universe, that particular time in American history and the noir world.”
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Mann garnered attention with his award-winning thesis film Five Deep Breaths, which lead to his stint on The Wire. After that he joined the ABC/DGA directing program and later received a DGA award nomination for his work on Grey’s Anatomy.
Lee, who met the young filmmaker when he was still enrolled at NYU, persuaded Benkirane to approach him for Miss: Better Living Through Crime. Prior to Mann’s involvement, Antoine Fuqua was lined up to direct the film but has since dropped out for reasons unknown.
Anyone whose resume includes The Wire instantly gets a thumbs-up in my book, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mann brings to the project and how it evolves. If you’d like to check out Mann’s thesis film, Vulture has it in its entirety.
If you’re not familiar with Miss: Better Living Through Crime, track down a copy and give it a read - it’s an outstanding piece of crime fiction.
Source: Heat Vision.
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