Tim Story Prepping Film About Black Mobster Stephanie St. Clair
Tim Story and Zero Gravity Management are developing an HBO film about the life of Stephanie St. Clair. Stephanie Saint-Clair was a mob boss who ran numerous criminal enterprises in Harlem, New York in the early part of the 20th century. Saint-Clair resisted the interests of the Mafia for several years after Prohibition ended; she continued to be an independent operator and never came under Mafia control. She ran a successful numbers game in Harlem and was an activist for the black community.
Known as “Madame Queenie” or “Queenie”, she was an immigrant from the Caribbean and ended up running something known as the Policy Bank — which really was the precursor to the American lottery system. Her character was portrayed in a number the 1984 film The Cotton Club, she was portrayed by Cicely Tyson in the 1997 film Hoodlum, she was portrayed by Fulani Haynes in Katherine Butler Jones’ 2007 play, 409 Edgecombe Ave, The House on Sugar Hill and she was portrayed by Alexandra Afryea in the 2014 TV One series, “Celebrity Crime Files: Lady Gangster”.
The project is based on book The World of Stephanie St. Clair: An Entrepreneur, Race Woman and Outlaw in the Early Twentieth Century Harlem by Shirley Stewart. The film’s script will be written by Nicole Asher, an African American screenwriter.