Will Smith Will Play Harlem Crime Boss Nicky Barnes in Netflix Film ‘The Council'

Nicky Barnes was previously played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2007 movie 'American Gangster.'

Will Smith poses on arrival for the European Gala of "Aladdin."

Image via Getty/TOLGA AKMEN

Will Smith poses on arrival for the European Gala of "Aladdin."

Collider has learned that Will Smith will produce and star in the Netflix film The Council where he will portray New York City legendary crime boss Nicky Barnes.  

Peter Landesman, who penned the script for Concussion, also starring Smith, will be tasked with writing The Council, which tells the story of a crime syndicate made up of seven African-American men as they ran Harlem throughout the 1970s and into the early '80s. The group's intention was to create a self-sufficient and self-policing African American city-state that was funded by way of revolutionizing the drug game. 

Netflix adds that the plot will be centered around "the Shakespearean court intrigue" between Barnes, the Council's kingand all of its different members. Barnes spearheaded the formation of an international drug trafficking partnership with the Italian-American Mafia that lasted until his arrest in 1978. 

Barnes was sentenced to life in prison without parole, but after growing upset with how his associates handled the empire he built, he turned on them by becoming a federal informant. Barnes was released in 1998, and placed in the witness protection program. He passed away in 2012, but his death only became public knowledge earlier this year.

Nicky Barnes, ‘Mr. Untouchable’ of Heroin Dealers, Is Dead at 78 - https://t.co/3GmHk7dtEu -

“Nicky Barnes is not around anymore,” said the balding, limping grandfather in the baggy Lee dungarees.
“Nicky Barnes’s lifestyle and his value system is extinct,” he went on, speaki... pic.twitter.com/dmCOH7BHtS

— Trending Press News (@trendingpress1) June 8, 2019

Barnes was previously played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in the 2007 movie American Gangster, which focused more on his rival Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas. Barnes was frustrated to see Lucas as the film's main interest, but now he will get his own story fully told.  

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