Lupita Nyong’o will star in and produce a movie version of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s romance novel “Americanah” with Brad Pitt’s Plan B, D2 Productions and Potboiler Productions.
The deal re-teams the Mexican-Kenyan actress — who won an Oscar in her film debut in “12 Years a Slave” — with Pitt’s production company, which produced the searing historical drama.
“Americanah” centers on a young Nigerian couple in a romance that explores the cruelties and the humor of the modern immigrant experience on three continents.
The couple fall in love as teenagers in a Lagos secondary school while Nigeria is under military dictatorship. The young woman departs for America but the young man is unable to join her and plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, he’s become wealthy in a newly democratic Nigeria, while she returns after having achieved success as a writer of a blog about race in America.
The novel, published last year by Alfred A. Knopf, was the winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to bring Ms. Adichie’s brilliant book to the screen,” Nyong’o said. “Page after page I was struck by Ifemelu and Obinze’s stories, whose experiences as African immigrants are so specific and also so imminently relatable. It is a thrilling challenge to tell a truly international story so full of love, humor and heart.”
Nyong’o begins production this summer on J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII” and is part of the voice cast of Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book.” She was the creator, director, editor, and producer of the feature-length documentary “In My Genes” about the treatment of Kenya’s albino population.
Adichie also wrote “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half of a Yellow Sun,” which was made into a feature starring Anika Noni Rose, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejoifor and John Boyega that recently premiered in the United Kingdom and Nigeria.
Andrea Calderwood of Potboiler produced “Half a Yellow Sun” and “The Last King of Scotland.”
Nyong’o is represented by D2 Management, CAA and Del Shaw.