Will Smith’s Crime Biopic ‘The Council: Everything We Know So Far

by @JRobinsonWoN
Published on December 8th, 2021, 10:33 am EST

the council will smith netflix everything we know so far

First announced in September 2019, it was confirmed that Will Smith would be starring in his next big role on Netflix, The Council, the biopic Nicky Barnes, the notorious drug kingpin of Harlem in the 1970s. We’re still waiting on filming to begin on The Council, however, we will be keeping you up to date with cast news, production updates, trailers, and the Netflix release date.

The Council is an upcoming Netflix Original biopic-crime drama written and directed by Peter Landesman. The feature will be the fifth Netflix Original involving actor will smith who previously starred in Bright, and will star in the upcoming Bright sequel. Smith is also an executive producer on Cobra Kai and was the host of the documentary Amend: The Fight for America.

Overbook Entertainment, Jackson Pictures, and Anonymous Nobodies are the three production studios behind The Council.

What is the plot of The Council?

The following synopsis has been provided by Netflix:

The never-before-told story of a crime syndicate consisting of seven African-American men who ruled Harlem in the 1970s and early 80s focusing on Nicky Barnes, dubbed “Mr. Untouchable” by the New York Times.

Who is Nicky Barnes?

Born in Harlem, Manhatten, New York City on October 15th, 1933, Nicky Barnes grew up to become one of the most infamous crime bosses of Harlem in the 1970s.

Barnes left home early in his youth to escape from his abusive alcoholic father, but ultimately this lead him down a path of crime and addiction as he began drug dealing. After serving time in prison and meeting members of the Colombo and Lucchese crime families, Barnes was taught how to organize his own drug trafficking organization.

In 1972, Barnes founded The Council, a seven-man organization molded after the Italian-American mafia families. The purpose of The Council was to peacefully maintain control of the drug supply of Harlem, while also helping to solve disputes amongst criminals and other drug-related issues.

The wealth and power of The Council grew rapidly during the 70s, with Barnes himself at the height of his power worth a reported $50 million. Unafraid to flaunt his wealth, he was often seen driving his fancy cars and wearing one of many of his hundred tailor-made Italian suits.

However, upon grabbing the attention of the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, life swiftly changed for the drug kingpin.

the council will smith netflix new york times magazine

The infamous front cover of The New York Times Magazine featuring Nicky Barnes aka “Mr. Untouchable”


Who are the cast members of The Council?

The only confirmed cast member for The Council is Will Smith, who will be portraying the role of Nicky Barnes.

the council will smith netflix cast nicky barnes

Will Smith (left) and Nicky Barnes (right)


What is the production status of The Council?

Official Production Status: Pre-Production (Last Updated: 08/12/2021)

Since September 27th, 2019 The Council has been in pre-production, and it’s unclear when principal photography will begin as no filming dates have been confirmed.

The reason for the long delay between pre-production and filming is likely due to Will Smith’s incredibly busy schedule as a producer and actor, not to mention for almost two years the world has been in the midst of a global pandemic, which caused numerous delays to many different productions.


When will The Council be released on Netflix?

As filming hasn’t begun, and with no filming schedule in sight, suffice to say we aren’t going to see The Council on Netflix anytime soon. At the earliest, we’re expecting to see The Council on Netflix sometime in 2023.


Are you looking forward to watching The Council on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!

Jacob Robinson

Article by

Jacob joined What's on Netflix in 2018 and serves as one of the lead writers here on What's on Netflix. Jacob covers all things Netflix movies and TV shows but specializes in covering anime and K-dramas. Resides in the United Kingdom.