Based on Andrew Ward’s epic Dark Midnight When I Rise, Steal Away is the legendary true story of Ella Sheppard and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a warrior choir of young former slaves fighting the KKK’s reign of terror against their schools, not with bullets or bombs but electrifying songs of faith and freedom. Steal Away follows the choir’s titanic rise from the darkness of slavery to the glittering ballrooms and throne rooms of Europe as they conquer the world… and must then conquer their own demons. One of the most breathtaking sagas ever known, Steal Away is a timeless story poised to become a beloved classic.
Now in development, Steal Away will feature a spectacularly diverse cast, the strongest African-American female lead in cinema history, an electrifying soundtrack by Grammy-winning composer Billy Childs, and a universal message of redemption and hope that will leave audiences cheering from Boston to Beijing.
Queen Victoria was so moved by the Jubilee Singers that she commissioned this portrait of them in 1874:
Steal Away’s towering heroine is the indomitable Ella Sheppard. Damned by past sins and desperate for redemption, Ella takes no prisoners and suffers no fools in her blazing crusade to rescue schools from supremacist destruction.
Meanwhile, Ella and Wallace are from violently far-flung worlds. The supremacist murder of his family has made him a raging militant, while she’s staking her life on a colorblind future. Their war-torn love is a powder keg set to explode.
“Ella is a brilliant protagonist: complex and layered, sympathetic yet flawed. This is an amazing role any young actress would love to play.”
Director Stephen Ashley Blake
Stephen Blake’s credits span over 200 motion pictures, television, commercial and music video productions, including productions for Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony, HBO, and USA Network. As Director, Producer, and/or Cinematographer he has shot iconic music videos for artists including Bono, Wu-Tang, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Digital Underground and Chris Rock for Geffen, Motown, Interscope, Def Jam, Virgin, Capitol, Columbia, MCA, RCA, Atlantic, Elektra, Epic, Island and Arista.
In directing Steal Away, Stephen joins his fellow filmmakers who have transitioned from music videos to blockbuster motion pictures, including:
Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys, Transformers)
David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network)
Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spider-Man)
Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean & sequels)
Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend, The Hunger Games)
Garth Jennings (Sing 1 & 2, The Secret Life of Pets 2)
Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, King Arthur, The Equalizer)
F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton)
Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, X-Men: The Last Stand)
Simon West (Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Black Hawk Down)
McG (American Pie, Scream 2, Charlies Angels 1 & 2)
Alex Proyas (I, Robot)
Dominic Sena (Gone in 60 Seconds, Swordfish)
Len Wiseman (Underworld & sequels, Total Recall)