By Rachel Yang
October 14, 2020 at 01:50 AM EDT
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Credit: Rachel Luna/Getty Images

Jussie Smollett is set to make his feature directorial debut with an adaptation of James Earl Hardy's best-selling 1994 novel B-Boy Blues, EW has confirmed. Deadline first reported the news.

Smollett will also be producing the movie through his newly launched SuperMassive Movies, alongside Hardy and others. The film begins production Saturday in New York City. He previously directed two episodes of Empire, which he also starred in between 2015 and 2019.

B-Boy Blues follows the tumultuous relationship between Mitchell Crawford, a 27-year old journalist, and Raheim Rivers, a 21-year-old bike messenger and B-boy (banjee boy). The two men meet in a gay bar in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1993. They fall in love, but their world — dominated by homophobia and violence — threatens to tear them apart.

Smollett is still embroiled in a legal case over an alleged attack against him that caught national attention in January 2019. Smollett told police that two men attacked him while yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

Prosecutors later charged Smollett with filing a false police report before abruptly dropping the charges in March 2019. In February, however, Smollett was indicted again on similar charges, alleging he made "four separate false reports to Chicago Police Department officers related to his false claims that he was the victim of a hate crime."

In a September court hearing, Smollett and his team filed to have the charges dropped, a request that a judge denied. Smollett pleaded not guilty to the latest charges. The actor, who has maintained his innocence throughout the case, was dropped from Empire as a result of the scandal.

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