Hollywood is dropping projects in twos lately, and the story of John Henry is next on the list. We previously reported that there was another The Little Mermaid production in the works starring Queen Latifah and Shaggy, in addition to the live-action Halle Bailey movie that will reportedly begin filming in 2020. Now, there are two films about the black folk hero John Henry, and both Terry Crews and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson are set to star in each.
Crews’ flick, which also stars Ludacris, is set to be released sometime in 2020 by Saban Films and is described as a “dramatic thriller.” According to Variety, this version is going to be a modernized account of John Henry’s story “after he abandons a crime-riddled life for a peaceful one in Los Angeles. But when he crosses paths with two immigrant kids who are running from the leader of his former gang, he’s forced to confront the violence of his past life in hopes of saving them.”
As one part of the legend of John Henry goes, he was a steel-driving man who could work faster than any machine. One day he was put to the test and indeed beat out his mechanical counterpart, but he ended up losing his life in his victorious moments. Some people believe that the tunnels Henry carved out in that contest still exists today. “The tale of John Henry is classic and legendary for many,” said Saban Films’ Bill Bromiley. “Terry and Ludacris’ performances are particularly inspiring, and we are delighted to share this contemporary telling with our audiences.”
Last year it was announced that Johnson would star in Netflix’s John Henry and The Statesmen, a film where the Fast & Furious actor will lead a band of other folklore characters through a harrowing adventure. We’ll just have to see which makes for a better adaptation.