American Fiction: Release Date, Cast And Other Things We Know About The Jeffrey Wright Movie

Over the past decade-and-a-half, Jeffrey Wright has cemented his legacy as one of the great character actors of our time thanks to outstanding performances in some of the best Wes Anderson movies, Matt Reeves’ The Batman, and as Felix Leiter in the Daniel Craig 007 films, to name just a few standout roles. And by the end of the 2023 movie schedule, he’ll add another potentially great movie to that list with the upcoming American Fiction.

If this is the first you’re hearing of American Fiction, stick around because we have a considerable amount of information about its release date, cast, story, and how The Good Place and Watchmen writer Cord Jefferson plans to make this a satirical movie that avoids becoming farcical. Let’s break down what could very well be a film we discuss a great deal in future Oscars conversations

What Is The American Fiction Release Date?

Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon in The Batman

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Audiences will get to see American Fiction just before end of the year, as the Jeffrey Wright-led drama is set for a limited release on December 15, 2023, with a larger roll out the following week on December 22, 2023. The movie was originally slated for a November release, but it was moved back a month to take advantage of the holiday season, according to Variety.

The American Fiction Cast Includes Jeffrey Wright, Issa Rae, And Sterling K. Brown

Jeffrey Wright in Hold the Dark; Issa Rae on Insecure; Sterling K. Brown on This Is Us

(Image credit: Netflix; HBO; NBC)

American Fiction features an stacked cast filled top to bottom with talented actors. At the top of the list is Jeffrey Wright, who, according to Deadline, will be taking on the role of Thelonious “Monk” Ellison, a writer who travels back to his hometown for a book festival only to get caught up in something much bigger. Issa Rae will portray another author named Sinattra Golden, while Sterling K. Brown will appear in an undisclosed role.

Other members of the American Fiction cast include Tracee Ellis Ross, Syler Wright, Leslie Uggams, Erika Alexander, John Ortiz, and Adam Brody, Collider has reported. Expect to hear more about the actors and the characters they will be playing as we get closer to the film’s release. 

American Fiction Centers On A Writer Who Pens A Satirical Novel Under A Pseudonym And Deals With The Fallout Of Its Success

Jeffrey Wright in The French Dispatch

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

American Fiction centers on Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Wright), an author and English professor whose career hasn’t really gone anywhere because (according to The Hollywood Reporter) his work isn’t considered “Black enough” by critics and audiences. However, that all changes when Monk writes a satirical novel using a pseudonym that takes off and becomes an immediate success. 

What follows is a man coming to terms with fame, his own identity, and how his worldviews are challenged by this new and radically different novel. And by the looks of it, American Fiction will contain elements of all kinds of genres ranging from comedy to drama to biting social commentary and explorations of the self. 

American Fiction Is An Adaptation Of Percival Everett’s Novel, Erasure

The Erasure cover

(Image credit: Graywolf Press)

There are quite a few upcoming book-to-screen adaptations set for release in the final stretch of 2023, and you can add American Fiction to that list of movies that also stand a chance to be up for at least a couple of Academy Awards and other accolades. Cord Jeffereson’s satirical film is based on Percival Everett’s 2001 novel Erasure, a dark comedy about an author who writes a satirical story in a fit of frustration after his more serious work isn’t deemed adequately black.

The novel, which was republished by Graywolf Press in 2011, saw the Monk character go from having his more serious manuscript rejected by more than a dozen publishers before his satirical novel becomes the next big thing. At the time of its original publication, a New York Times review of Erasure said the novel contained “equal measures of sympathy and satire” in its approach to the topic of “being black enough.”

Cord Jefferson Has Described American Fiction As Being ‘Satirical But Also Grounded’

Jeffrey Wright in Westworld

(Image credit: HBO)

Though American Fiction is satirical in nature, Cord Jefferson also wanted to ground it enough in reality to avoid turning it into something that could be viewed as a farce. When speaking with Deadline around the time of the film’s world premiere at the 2023 Toronto Film Festival, the writer-turned-director discussed his process of adapting the Erasure into American Fiction, saying,

I wanted it to be satire without becoming farce. That was important to me. I think that some satire becomes farcical, and I think that’s totally fine. I think there’s some great farcical films, but I didn’t want to do that with this. I wanted it to feel satirical but also grounded. I think the blending of the family stuff in there grounds it. It grounds the film before it becomes just pure satirical farce.

Jefferson, who previously worked on shows like Master of None, Station Eleven, and the hit HBO drama series Succession, explained later in the interview that he was drawn both to the satirical elements of Everett’s novel as well as the family elements present throughout the story. In fact, many of the conversations brought up in the novel were ones he was already having in his own life when it came to being a Black creative.

American Fiction Won The People’s Choice Award At The 2023 Toronto International Film Festival

bernard in Westworld

(Image credit: HBO)

We’re still several months out from the 96th Academy Awards, but Jeffrey Wright is one of the early Oscar contenders coming out of the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, where American Fiction was presented with the People’s Choice Award following its premiere. According to Variety, Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut beat out other decorated films like Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers and Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron

Since the festival category’s creation back in 1978, seven of the recipients have won Best Picture at the next year’s Academy Awards, and five of those were in the past two decades. Those seven movies are Chariots of Fire, American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, 12 Years a Slave, Green Book, and Nomadland.

Expect much more about American Fiction as we get closer to its December release, especially since it’s one of the big 2023 movies with no trailer as of yet.

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