EXCLUSIVE: The Gotham Group, which most recently produced Disney+’s Stargirl based on the bestselling novel, has made its latest book deal. It has optioned Christina Hammonds Reed’s upcoming debut YA novel The Black Kids, setting Rafiki helmer Wanuri Kahiu to direct and Allison Davis to adapt it.
The novel, to be published September 1 via Simon & Schuster, is a coming-of-age story of a wealthy African-American teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Kahiu’s previous film Rafiki was banned in her native Kenya for a time ahead of its world premiere at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it made history as the first Kenyan film selected. It explored LGBTQ issues in a country that criminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults.
The film’s success helped Kahiu land directing Covers, a romance set in the Los Angeles music world, for Working Title and Universal. She’s also set to direct Millie Bobby Brown in The Thing About Jellyfish for Made Up Stories, and is adapting Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed for Juvee Productions and Amazon. She is currently attached to direct HBO’s pilot Shade that is being produced by Oprah Winfrey.
Davis wrote on OWN’s David Makes Man, Amazon’s The Underground Railroad from Barry
Jenkins and 61 Street for AMC. She is a former senior writer and story producer at Google and associate artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in New York.
Book-to-screen specialist The Gotham Group is now in production on Netflix’s Wendell & Wild along with Jordan Peele and Henry Selick. Also for Netflix it just wrapped Sorta Like a Rock Star, based on the novel by Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick and starring Auli’I Cravalho. On the TV side, it is in post on the USA Network pilot Masters of Doom and is developing Washington Black for Hulu with Selwyn Hinds adapting, Anthony Hemingway directing and Sterling K. Brown producing.
Reed is repped by Abrams Artist Agency and Hotchkiss Daily & Associates. Kahui is repped by CAA and Gotham Group. Davis is with Grandview and Del, Shaw, Moonves.
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