Producer Autumn Bailey-Ford (Through the Glass Darkly, Reach), has secured the film rights to YA novel I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, co-written by activist Kimberly Jones and attorney Gilly Segal. The project is a collaboration between Bailey and Cameron Burnett (Alibi, The Bench) of Prominent Productions and Radar Pictures (the Jumanji franchise, Karn Evil 9). Michael Napoliello and Maria Frisk will produce for Radar.
The NAACP Image Award Nominee novel, which was released in 2019, follows two teen girls-one Black, one white-who have to confront their own assumptions about racial inequality as they rely on each other to get through the violent race riot that has set their city on fire with civil unrest. Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.
When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together. They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
“I fell in love with I’m Not Dying With You Tonight when I read it last year. The growing friendship between Lena and Campbell was powerful to me. I went through all kinds of emotions when I read this story. I’m excited to work with Radar on bringing Kim and Gilly’s work to the big screen,” said Bailey-Ford. Burnett read the book and agreed with Bailey-Ford’s passion. “Our plan is to make a powerful film seen though the younger generation’s viewpoint. We shall take one night showing two teenagers working together to survive a harrowing night of shooting, fights, a riot, looting and their conflicting views on each other, all while trying to get safe and home,” he added.
Since its publication last summer, I’m Not Dying With You Tonight has received acclaim for its handling of prejudice and the racial tension that permeates in America. Angie Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give, called it “an absolute page turner…a compelling and powerful novel that is sure to make an impact.” David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite, declared the book “a powerful examination of privilege, and how friends are often found in surprising places.
Jones and Segal have penned a page-turning debut, as timely as it is addictive.” Co-author Kimberly Jones has been out interviewing people in the crowd during the national police violence protests and was the subject of a viral video comparing systemic financial oppression to a fixed game of Monopoly. With over 1.9 million views to date, How Can We Win has drawn praise from Trevor Noah, LeBron James, Lizzo, Janelle Monáe and Madonna. Of the upcoming feature, Jones shared, “I can’t find the words to describe how I feel about the book being made into a film.
Exploring the “why” involved in civil unrest is non-negotiable in this era and I’m Not Dying With You Tonight is a piece of work that can open the portal to that conversation. I think it was destined to be released in this medium.” Co-author Gilly Segal remarked, “Working with Prominent Productions and Radar Pictures to make I’m Not Dying With You Tonight into a film is thrilling.
I’m honored to have this material in their hands and inspired by their passion for bringing the project to the screen. I hope adapting the novel for film will offer people another means to explore and talk about the themes raised in the book and that the conversations it sparks reach new audiences.”