Casting call goes out as filming set to start in Memphis and Mississippi for series on Emmett Till family

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FILE – This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Till, the black teenager whose brutal killing in Mississippi helped inspire the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago. (AP Photo, File)

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Filming is beginning soon for a new ABC limited series filming in Memphis and Mississippi, according to information from a casting agency that was reposted by the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission.

Women Of the Movement” is a six-episode series focusing on Mamie Till Mobley, the mother of Emmett Till, a teenager who was lynched in Money, Mississippi in 1955. The 14-year-old was tortured by two white men, then tossed into the Tallahatchie River.

Mobley’s decision to hold an open-casket funeral for her son in Chicago helped galvanize the movement, and she went on to become an activist.

Benjamin Saulsberry, museum director at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, says he’s “somewhat humbled and yet unbelievably excited” by the news.

“To have a network-based production that takes some time to kind of laser focus in on her life and what she went through and how she gave so much of herself after losing the most precious thing to her,” he said.

Saulsberry says the memory of Emmett Till is because of his mother.

“Because of her bravery and her willingness and just her choosing to show just how vitriol racism is and how ugly hatred is without a shadow of a doubt,” Saulsberry said. “Her choosing to do so helped mark what would be the beginning of the Civil Rights movement.”

Executive producers for the series reportedly include Will Smith and Jay-Z, according to Deadline and other sources. Variety reports that Emmy-wining actress Niecy Nash and Ray Fisher are part of the cast.

Filming locations will be in Memphis and other locations in Mississippi and West Tennessee, the film commission said.

According to people living in Greenwood, Mississippi about two hours from Memphis, filming for the series has already started.

“It is extremely important to be able to show Memphis, and it’s extremely important to be able to show places within Mississippi that were part of, and in some ways, still part of this national conversation towards progress and change,” Saulsberry said.

Saulsberry hopes this story will inspire people locally as well as across the country to educate themselves about the painful history. He believes it could help draw tourism down the road.

“Will help be a boost in the months and years to come so we’ll see, but in theory I don’t see how it would be a disadvantage to have these productions,” Saulsberry said.

Testing for extras will be done in Memphis beginning Friday, with filming dates set for Jan. 27-29, according to the casting agency.

The film is looking for men and women of all ethnicities, ages 18-65. They must fit the look of the 1950s time period. Full details can be found by clicking the Facebook link above.

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