Book-to-screen specialist The Gotham Group have made its latest book deal. The team has optioned Christina Hammonds Reed‘s upcoming debut YA novel The Black Kids and have set Rafiki director Wanuri Kahiu to helm the adaptation. Allison Davis (Barry Jenkins‘ upcoming Amazon series The Underground Railroad) will write the script.
The novel won’t be published until September, but obviously industry response must be very positive for a movie adaptation to be in the works already. It is a coming-of-age story revolving around a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Kahiu’s previous film Rafiki made history as the first Kenyan film selected at the Cannes Film Festival. It explored LGBTQ issues in a country that criminalises homosexual acts between consenting adults, and was thus banned in her native Kenya for a time.
But the film’s success helped Kahiu land a host of other gigs. She’s on board to direct Millie Bobby Brown in The Thing About Jellyfish, and is adapting Octavia Butler‘s Wild Seed for Amazon. On top of that, she’s also attached to direct HBO’s pilot of Shade, which Oprah Winfrey is producing.
Obviously with the book not yet being published it’s hard to judge the film adaptation, but Kahiu is a mightily impressive up-and-coming talent and it would be no surprise to see her hit every aforementioned project out of the park.
The Gotham Group – who Kahiu is now managed by – also have plenty of other projects on tap. They’re currently in production on Netflix’s Wendell & Wild with Jordan Peele and Henry Selick, and also just wrapped Sorta Like A Rock Star, based on the novel by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick, also for Netflix.