Leonardo DiCaprio Looking to Join TRUEVINE about Two Albino African-American Brothers Enslaved by the Circus
Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to produce and star in an upcoming feature film adaptation of Beth Macy's book, Truevine: Two Brothers, A Kidnapping, And A Mother’s Quest; A True Story Of The Jim Crow South. This is based on the true story of two albino African-American brothers who were kidnapped in 1899 in Virginia and were sold to the circus by James “Candy” Shelton and displayed as circus freaks. For 28 years their mother struggled to get them back. This is truly and intense and heartbreaking story. As you might imagine, the brothers endured horrific treatment and were told that their mother had died.
It's insane to me the things that people will do for a quick buck. This is a powerful story that will no doubt make for a powerful film. The film will be set up at Paramount Pictures, and this detailed description of the book that offers a bit more insight:
The year was 1899 and the place a sweltering tobacco farm in the Jim Crow South town of Truevine, Virginia. George and Willie Muse were two little boys born to a sharecropper family. One day a white man offered them a piece of candy, setting off events that would take them around the world and change their lives forever.
Captured into the circus, the Muse brothers performed for royalty at Buckingham Palace and headlined over a dozen sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. They were global superstars in a pre-broadcast era. But the very root of their success was in the color of their skin and in the outrageous caricatures they were forced to assume: supposed cannibals, sheep-headed freaks, even “Ambassadors from Mars.” Back home, their mother never accepted that they were “gone” and spent 28 years trying to get them back.
Through hundreds of interviews and decades of research, Beth Macy expertly explores a central and difficult question: Where were the brothers better off? On the world stage as stars or in poverty at home? TRUEVINE is a compelling narrative rich in historical detail and rife with implications to race relations today.
Harriet eventually found her sons and had a long custody battle with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. After all that, they went back to work in the circus in 1928 where they performed under the names “the Ethiopian Monkey Men,” “Eko and Iko,” and “Ambassadors from Mars.” It's really the only life that they knew. There's no word on who DiCaprio will end up playing in the film if cast.