Anika Noni Rose (“Dreamgirls”) heads a roster of thesps now set alongside multihyphenate Jill Scott for Weinstein Co. telepic “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.”
Film, helmed by Anthony Minghella, is expected to launch a full series, but there is no network commitment as yet. Minghella wrote the script along with scribe Richard Curtis.
The bestselling “Ladies” books by Alexander McCall Smith center on Precious Ramotswe (Scott), proprietor of the only female-owned detective agency in the African nation of Botswana. She sleuths, helps people solve problems and falls for the respectable owner of a local garage.
Rose will play her quirky secretary, Mma Makutsi. Other cast members announced Monday include newcomer Lucian Msamati, David Oyelowo (“The Last King of Scotland”), Idris Elba (“28 Weeks Later,” “The Wire”), Colin Salmon (“Die Another Day,” “Match Point”) and Tony winners Winston Ntshona and John Kani.
Shooting begins Monday in Botswana. The country, which has never before hosted an entire film shoot, is said to be investing $5 million in the production.
“Africa for the first time will be shown in its true warmth and welcoming spirit,” said Onkokame Kitso Mokaila, minister of environment, wildlife and tourism.
Harvey Weinstein said, “Like all fans of Alexander McCall Smith’s magisterial books, I became enchanted with the wonders and charms of Botswana.”
Mirage Prods., which Minghella runs along with its founder, Sydney Pollack, is producing the pic.