Kelvin Harrison Jr. to star in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s new biopic
Actor Kelvin Harrison Jr., star of the 2019 films “Waves” and “Luce” – of which the latter was directed by Onah – will portray the Haitian and Puerto Rican visual artist, whose pioneering career has helped define the art of the East Village of New York. scene in the 1980s. The news was announced via a website for the film, titled “Samo Lives” in reference to Basquiat’s famous graffiti tag “SAMO ©”.
In a statement from the director to the site, Onah said he had been inspired by Basquiat’s life from a young age.
“It was amazing to find someone who boldly forged their own path in a world where most of those who did not fit the profile expected of a good artist had not been able to (i.e. whites and men), “Onah wrote.
Basquiat rose to fame as Warhol’s protégé, and their deaths two years apart shook the art world. Credit: Richard Drew / AP
Since his death at age 27, Basquiat has become a favorite in the art market, with his paintings regularly selling tens of millions of dollars. Credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media / Getty Images
Onah said he believed Basquiat’s story “hadn’t been fully told” on screen. “Never have we seen the full spectrum of Basquiat’s incredible life as a black artist and child of the immigrant African diaspora,” he said, adding that Harrison will bring “sensitivity and soul to the role” .
Kelvin Harrison Jr., pictured at the UK premiere of “Cyrano” last month, will play Jean-Michel Basquiat. Credit: Joe Maher / Getty Images for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures & Universal Pictures
A long-awaited new exhibition of the artist’s work is also set to open this spring. Showcasing some 200 rare works brought together by the Basquiat family, “King Pleasure” will be on display at the Starrett Lehigh Gallery in New York from April.