Eddie Murphy

Adapting August Wilson: How his play 'Fences' became a movie (and why so much of his work hasn't)

Adapting August Wilson: How his play 'Fences' became a movie (and why so much of his work hasn't)

When August Wilson received word in 2005 that he had inoperable Stage IV cancer, he was not just personally but professionally disconsolate: There was still so much work to do. 

At 60, the African American playwright had accomplished enough for a dozen lifetimes, completing the canon of 10 black-oriented plays known as the American Century Cycle — not to mention bagging two Pulitzer Prizes and a Tony Award. But he had a new play he was fiddling with. A script. A novel. And, oh yes, there were some platforms his most acclaimed work had yet to reach.

“I think he felt proud of his achievements and faced death the way he faced life: courageously and...

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