The life story of French-Caribbean composer Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges is coming to the big screen. The idea is from Emmy-nominated writer Stefani Robinson, known for her work on FX’s Atlanta and What We Do in the Shadows. Stephen Williams, who has directed prominent episodes of Watchmen and Westworld, will helm the biopic.
De Saint-Georges’ has generally remained untold. Yet, his remarkable story as one of the first composers in the European tradition with African heritage is truly captivating. Nothing is known about De Saint-Georges’ musical training, but it is presumed that he practiced violin seriously as a child due to his prodigious technique. Alive during the same era as Mozart, the musical genius is said to have influenced Mozart.
Variety, who first reported the news, writes: “Born in 1745 in the French Caribbean, the musical prodigy was the illegitimate son of an African slave and a French plantation owner. He rose to improbable heights in French society, dazzling as both a violinist and composer, and a champion fencer. An ill-fated love affair with a French noblewoman, and a falling out with Marie Antoinette and her court led to his untimely downfall.”
Searchlight Pictures will finance and distribute the film.
Below, learn more about the life and music of Chevalier de Saint-Georges in this 2017 documentary from Media Headquarters.