Actor Will Smith is about to tap into his inner gangsta for his upcoming role as Nicky Barnes in a new Netflix movie project.
The “Aladdin” star is set to star in a new film centered around the life and business dealings of Harlem drug lord Nicky Barnes called “The Council”, Deadline reports. Smith will executive produce the film with James Lassiter under their company Overbrook Entertainment. The screenplay is written by Peter Landesman, who wrote the 2015 film “Concussion,” where Smith starred as the famed pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu.
“The Council,” tells the true-life story of Nicky Barnes and his creation of an organization called The Council in the 1970s. The organized crime syndicate consisted of 7 Black men in New York City that controlled the heroin trade in the Harlem area of the city. The group ran the heroin trade in Harlem, handled local criminal disputes, and solved other issues related to the drug trade. Their partnership with Matthew Madonna of the Lucchese crime family helped to supply the group with raw heroin that they then diluted and distributed in Harlem.
The Council’s heroin was distributed throughout New York State, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and even Canada. Nicky Barnes eventually was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1978. However, in 1982 he became a federal informant and gave a testimony that led to the dissolution of The Council in 1983. In June 1977, The New York Times Magazine featured Barnes on an infamous cover, where they called him “Mr. Untouchable.”
“This is Nicky Barnes,” it also read. “The police say he may be Harlem’s biggest drug dealer, but can they prove it?”
Barnes passed away of cancer in 2012. He was portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2007 film “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington as Barnes’ rival Frank Lucas, another Harlem crime boss who worked with the Italian-American mafia.
The remains no release date for “The Council”. But with the highly anticipated release of “Bad Boys 3” in January 2020 is already gearing up to be a big year for Will Smith.