Deadline is exclusively reporting that director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan are reuniting to work on Wrong Answer, the true story of how Atlanta high school educators participated in an intricate, systemic standardised-test cheating scandal in 2013.
The story focuses on Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School near Atlanta who got caught up in the scandal involving standardised tests that were part of the No Child Left Behind program that tried to institutionalise higher test scores in schools nationwide. The problem however was that the students at the school were severely underprivileged and despite Lewis and other teachers best efforts, the kids weren’t making the grades necessary to keep the school from being shuttered. Lewis, who was a heroic force for the students of his school and was the football, soccer and softball coach and even the chess club founder, joined an effort to cheat the test scores upward. Damany Lewis became part of what was called the largest academic cheating scandal in US history, which saw eleven educators convicted of racketeering.
Coogler and Jordan had initially talked about the project whilst they were promoting Creed and now the film is set to commence with New Regency and Plan B onboard, with the former financing the project. Ta-Nehisi Coates will write a script that is based on the 2014 article by Rachel Aviv in The New Yorker. Damany Lewis will be working on the film as a consultant alongside Aviv. Ryan Coogler will also serve as a producer alongside Plan B’s Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and New Regency’s Arnon Milchan.
I for one am excited about the project, mainly because of the Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan teamup. The duo just work well together and it shows in their previous work on Fruitvale Station and Creed (and I’m expecting more good things in Marvel’s Black Panther). I’m surprised that I’ve never heard of the test cheating scandal before, but I’m interested to see how it’ll play out on the big screen.