Cyntoia Brown’s life story is headed to the small screen.
According to Deadline, Starz is developing a limited drama series based on Brown’s memoir, Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System. The book, which was co-written by journalist Bethany Mauger, provides an inside look into the criminal justice system as experienced by Long. The now 33-year-old woman was just 16 years old when she was sentenced to life in prison for killing a man who paid to have sex with her. Brown maintained her innocence throughout her 15 years behind bars, claiming she killed the man in an act of self-defense.
Her case received national headlines, thanks in large part to celebrity support. Everyone from Rihanna and Kim Kardashian to LeBron James and La La Anthony used their platforms to rally for Brown, as many argued her punishment was unconstitutional. Brown’s life sentence was commuted in 2019, and she was released from prison that summer.
Anthony reportedly presented the project to 50 Cent’s G-Unit Film & Television, Inc. The company agreed to develop the series under Fif’s overall deal with Starz. Brown, who is now an advocate for sex-trafficking victims, will consult on the project alongside her husband, Jamie Long.
“For [Brown] to trust me with this story, after everything she’s been through, it’s not something I take lightly,” Anthony told Essence last year. “I was so proud of what [50 Cent] did with the series For Life. I just felt like we were already great partners and it could be good.”
There’s no word on casting, but Deadline reports the series will be written by Santa Sierra, who co-executive produced Power Book III: Raising Kanan for 50 Cent. Sierra will also executive produce the Brown series with Fif and Anthony.
“We’re honored to be entrusted with Cyntoia’s story, which shines a light on the injustice of a system that tried and sentenced an at-risk minor as an adult when she was a victim herself of sex trafficking,” said Christina Davis, President of Original Programming for Starz. “This limited series from Curtis, La La, and Santa chronicles Cyntoia’s long journey to freedom and furthers our #TakeTheLead programming mandate centered on narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.”
According to Deadline, the drama is part of Starz’s #TakeTheLead initiative, which aims to amplify the voices of women and underrepresented groups through diverse storytelling.