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Rustin on Netflix: Cast, release date, trailer and more 

The film is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama's production company

By Charlotte Manning

(L to R) Aml Ameen as Martin Luther King and Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Rustin
(L to R) Aml Ameen as Martin Luther King and Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Rustin (Image: Netflix)

Rustin seeks to shine a much-needed spotlight on gay civil rights activist and organiser, Bayard Rustin.

Alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, Rustin dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom.

This week, Netflix gave viewers a first look at the upcoming drama, which premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival next month. 

The film is directed by DGA award and five-time Tony award winner George C. Wolfe, with a screenplay by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black. 

It is also produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions,

Here’s everything we know about the upcoming biographical film, set to land on the streamer later this year. 

Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Rustin.
Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Rustin (Image: Netflix)

Who is in cast? 

Colman Domingo star as Rustin, alongside Aml Ameen in the role of Martin Luther King. 

The film features an all-star cast elsewhere, with Chris Rock as character Roy Wilkins.

Other names on the billing include: Glynn Turman, Gus Halper, CCH Pounder, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Johnny Ramey.

Michael Potts, Jeffrey Wright and Audra McDonald complete the core cast. 

What is Rustin about? 

The synopsis reads: “The architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington, Bayard Rustin was one of the greatest activists and organisers the world has ever known.

“He challenged authority, never apologised for who he was, what he believed, or who he desired. And he did not back down. He made history, and in turn, he was forgotten. 

It was here at the March On Washington that Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. gave his infamous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

Is there a trailer for Rustin? 

Yes, Netflix has released the first official trailer for Rustin, which is just over two minutes long. 

In the trailer, we see Rustin organise the protest in eight weeks. He is criticised by Chris Rock’s character, Roy Wilkins, for his “attention grabbing antics.”

Wilkins also scowls as he says “let’s not mention the unmentionable,” as we see Rustin embraced by a male partner.

As well as rallying speeches the central character is also seen proclaiming defiantly “on the day I was born Black, I was also born a homosexual.”

He also tells someone: “They either believe in freedom and justice for all or they do not.”

Release date and how to watch Rustin

The film is scheduled to premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival on September 13. 

It will then be released in selected cinemas on 3 November. 

Rustin will be available for Netflix subscribers to watch from 17 November. 

Rustin will be available from 17 November.