Nia DaCosta To Direct Film Adaptation Of Ta-Nehisi Coates Novel ‘The Water Dancer’

Candyman director Nia DaCosta has signed on for her next directorial project. She will helm a film adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ novel The Water Dancer for MGM. Brad Pitt‘s Plan B and Oprah Winfrey‘s Harpo Films will produce alongside Maceo-Lyn.

Coates’ novel is a surrealist story that unfolds in the pre–Civil War South. It follows Hiram Walker, who was born into slavery and lost his mother as a child. Over time, he loses all memory of her. As a young man, he almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but he’s saved from the depths by a mysterious power he never realized he had and struggles to understand.

The Water Dancer was named one of the best books of 2019 by the likes of The Washington Post, NPR, and Vanity Fair. It was Coates’ first novel after he’d established a career of acclaimed writing about racism and white supremacy in America for The Atlantic and in his published non-fiction works Between The World And Me and We Were Eight Years In Power.

This project will mark Coates’ second collaboration with Plan B, as he’s also attached to adapt Rachel Aviv‘s New Yorker story Wrong Answer into a film starring Michael B. Jordan and directed by Ryan Coogler.

DaCosta began her career with thriller Little Woods before helming Candyman, which was delayed a few times before eventually being released in August 2021.

She’s currently in post-production on MCU film The Marvels with Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, Teyonah Parris, and Samuel L. Jackson. That’s expected to arrive in early 2023.

Still just 32, DaCosta should have a long and successful career ahead of her, and a film that sees her collaborate with Coates is certainly worth getting excited about. There’s no word yet on whether Coates will adapt his own novel for the screen.

Other projects in the work at Plan B include Sarah Polley‘s adaptation of Miriam Toews‘ novel Women Talking, Cory Finley‘s adaptation of M.T. Anderson‘s Landscape With Invisible Hand, and a currently untitled project from Minari writer/director Lee Isaac Chung.


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