Award-winning playwright Katori Hall has found the lead character for her upcoming film, “Arkabutla.” It’s “Girlfriends” heartthrob Khalil Kain. The New York native will play “Chauncey” in Hall’s short film about a contemporary “cowboy” who is reunited with his 10-year-old daughter (“an old soul with a fast mouth,” according to casting notes) and 7-year-old son (a “brat” with charm) after a long stretch away from home on the rodeo circuit.
Kain, 51, first rose to prominence in his role as “Raheem” opposite Tupac in 1992’s “Juice.” But, he’s probably best know for his role as “Maya’s” husband “Darnell Wilkes” on the sitcom “Girlfriends” for seven years. Kain has also appeared in “Love Jones” (1997) and he played the lead in Showtime’s “The Tiger Woods Story” (1998). In a stark departure from his nice guy roles, Kain portrayed the rapist “Bill” in Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” (2010).
Kain recently ventured into the theatre world, penning the stage drama Lambs to Slaughter which tells the story of a mourning single mother living alone in the city after the murder of her son “Emmett.” The play was read in December 2014 at the cell theatre in New York.
“Arkabutla” was inspired by an incident that Hall witnessed as a teenager and marks her first attempt at filmmaking. The film is scheduled to begin filming in Memphis on October 20.
Hall was the first African American playwright to win the Olivier Award for The Mountaintop. Since her rise on the Broadway scene, her work has been produced at acclaimed theatres across the nation, bringing her signature style to the forefront of the theatre scene.
Her most recent production was The Mixed Blood Theatre‘s Pussy Valley, which closed a successful run on May 10th. The play centered around the lives of four women working in a Mississippi strip club, a world that Hall describes as “the intersection of hip hop and strip club cultures.”