Daniel Kaluuya is the latest big name to sign on for a Netflix movie. The Oscar-nominated star has agreed to produce and star in The Upper World for the streaming behemoth. The film is based on an upcoming YA novel by author Femi Fadugba which is intended to begin a series of books, something Netflix would probably like to replicate on screen.
Set in Peckham, the story revolves around Esso, who is caught in a deadly feud and on the verge of expulsion when he discovers he has an unexpected gift; access to a world where he can see glimpses of both the past and the future.
At the same time, a generation away, Rhia is walking to football practice in 2035, unaware that the mysterious stranger she’s about to meet desperately needs her help to avert a bullet fired 15 years earlier.
It’s not been confirmed who Kaluuya will be playing, but considering he’s been announced as the lead, it’s probably the adult version of Esso in 2035. However it’s possible that the film is being aged up and there won’t be any teenage characters at all. If Netflix wants a potential franchise, that might be the smart move. We’ve seen what happens with shows like Stranger Things when the kids age in reality.
Netflix’s Tendo Nagenda said in a statement: “Femi Fadugba. You may not know his name, but once you’ve read The Upper World you won’t be able to forget it […] I can count on one hand the times I’ve connected with a novel so viscerally. It’s a rare feeling, made even more special when you also have the opportunity to bring such a story to life on film”.
“I’m excited about the impact the story can have”, Fadugba himself added. “I’d love to one day see teachers putting the book on their summer reading lists. I’d love to help create a world where when people talk about the new Cardi B, Giggs or CS song, they mention the ideas in The Upper World as part of the culture as well”.
Kaluuya is already a major name and will only continue to get bigger if his career continues on the trajectory it’s currently at. He’s already been in films such as Get Out, Black Panther, Widows, Sicario, and Queen & Slim, and now has both this and the excellent-looking Judas & The Black Messiah coming soon.
We’ll wait for a bit more info on The Upper World – director, co-stars, whether they are indeed ageing up the protagonist – but this could be Kaluuya’s first major franchise.