Barry Michael Cooper, the esteemed writer who penned the screenplays for the films New Jack City, Above the Rim, and Sugar Hill, is working on new movies. On Saturday (Nov. 27), Cooper took to Twitter to announce the working title for a prequel to his 1991 crack cocaine-laced classic New Jack City. “The Diary of NIno Brown: The Monster Reagan Created.” Prequel. Sequel. Work In Progress. Soon. GOD Willing. #NewJackCity,” Cooper tweeted.
It’s been 30 years since the movie, directed by Mario Van Peebles, premiered in theaters in March of 1991. The storyline is loosely based on Harlem drug kingpin Nicky Barnes and a Detroit gang known as The Chambers Brothers. Cooper, a Harlem native, knew the city well, plus he had previously written an investigative feature for The Village Voice titled “Kids Killing Kids: New Jack City Eats Its Young.” That article, published in 1987, served as the foundation for what would become the highest-grossing independent film in 1991.
Wesley Snipes played the slick-talking, cold-blooded drug lord Nino Brown; Allen Payne played Nino’s right-hand man G-Money; Chris Rock portrayed Pooky, the drug addict you couldn’t help but root for. And Ice-T starred as Scotty Appleton, an undercover cop who infiltrates Nino’s Cash Money Brothers drug operation.
In a 2016 interview with Ambrosia For Heads, Cooper mentioned that he was writing both a prequel and a sequel to New Jack City. At the time, he called the sequel Am I My Brother’s Keeper and explained that it would delve into Nino’s childhood. “[It explores] where he grew up and what he overcame to become what he was, and the larger issue of what he said at the end of that courtroom [scene]: ‘‘We didn’t bring the Uzis into Harlem.,’” Cooper told the outlet.
Check out Cooper’s tweet below: