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‘Book of Negroes’ director to helm feature film about Major Taylor

Shooting begins in 2022

Multiple award-winning director, Clement Virgo (The Book of Negroes, Billions, The Get Down, Lie with Me, Poor Boy’s Game), will direct Black Cyclone, a new feature drama about the remarkable life and career of the bicycle racer Marshall “Major” Taylor.

Inspired by the book The World’s Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America’s First Black Sports Hero by The Washington Post investigative reporter Michael Kranish, Black Cyclone is produced by Minds Eye Entertainment, the production studio behind the recently released Lionsgate action-thriller Dangerous starring Scott Eastwood, Kevin Durand, Tyrese Gibson, Famke Janssen and Mel Gibson.

Major Taylor’s presence to be felt at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia

Black Cyclone depicts the life story of the legendary bicycle racer Marshall Walter Taylor. Better known to the world as “Major” Taylor, Marshall made history becoming the world’s fastest man at the turn of the 20th century and America’s first Black world champion at the height of the Jim Crow era. Black Cyclone is a compelling sports saga set in the late 1890s and early 1900s, the drama of how Major Taylor confronted racism, both subtle and deadly, yet triumphed with sheer will, the love of a woman, and his troubled alliances with a Black trainer and a white promoter.

Kevin Dewalt at Minds Eye Entertainment (The Recall, Daughter of the Wolf, Dangerous) is producing the film from Robert Eisele’s script (The Great Debaters, The Senior, Hurricane Season). Clement Virgo, one of Canada’s foremost film directors, is attached to direct the feature. Virgo’s previous projects include a six-part miniseries adaptation of Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, Netflix drama The Get Down, Showtime series Billions, as well as several critically acclaimed features such as Poor Boy’s Game, Lie With Me and Rude.

“Major Taylor was a fascinating enigma, an athlete ahead of his time. I’m excited to collaborate in sharing the story of the fastest man in the world,” Virgo said.

Chris Kirkman, Rashid Bahati, Eric Mika, Natasha Semone Vassell will serve as executive producers, with Rahsaan Bahati, a 10-time U.S. Pro Champion Cyclist, joining as a consultant for the project. John Howard, a three-time Olympic cyclist and author of Pushing the Limits, Dirt!, The Cyclist’s Companion and Mastering Cycling, will also act as a consultant and executive producer on the film. Production is set to begin in 2022. Minds Eye Entertainment will be handling distribution.