Monster, an independent drama from director Anthony Mandler, is bringing together a seriously stacked cast as it kicks off production in New York City this week. Varietyannounced Friday that ASAP Rocky, Nas, Jennifer Hudson, Tim Blake Nelson, Jennifer Ehle, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (The Birth of a Nation) have all signed on for the big screen adaptation of Walter Dean Myers' 1999 novel of the same name.
Monster centers on a young student named Steve Harmon (Harrison), who has been hit with a felony murder charge despite his innocence. Harmon, potentially facing life in prison, decides to turn his harrowing experience into a screenplay. John David Washington and Jeffrey Wright will also star, with Mandler directing from a script penned by Colen C. Wiley and Janece Shaffer.
The film will mark Mandler's cinematic debut, having previously made his mark as a music video director. Jay Z, Rihanna, Muse, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Snoop Dogg, and many others have tapped Mandler for his visual expertise in recent years. In 2014, Mandler also helmed the David Beckham TV documentary Into the Unknown.
News of ASAP Rocky landing a prime Monster gig comes just a week after he announced a massive partnership with MTV. As part of a two-year deal with the iconic brand, Rocky will develop his own franchises while "experimenting" with programming. "I feel like we live in a day and age where Snapchat, Instagram, the internet and all the 15-to-30-second video clips are running the world, and that's all that matters," Rocky said in a press release. That's true, but movies are still pretty cool too.