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Okonedo to star in ‘Skin’

Film tells true story of black girl born to Afrikaner parents

BERLIN — Sophie Okonedo will play the lead role in “Skin,” based on the true story of a black girl who was born to two white Afrikaner parents in South Africa during the apartheid era.

The movie, directed by Anthony Fabian, is adapted from “When She Was White,” Judith Stone’s biography of Sandra Laing. Production starts in May, with the Little Film Co. handling worldwide sales.

At birth in 1955, Laing was classified as white, but a genetical quirk had given her dark skin and frizzy hair. In childhood she was reclassified as colored under apartheid laws and forcibly removed from her whites-only school, despite a legal challenge by her parents.

She later eloped with a black man and became estranged from her parents, before seeking a reconciliation with her mother after the fall of apartheid.

The film is produced by Margaret Matheson of the U.K.’s Bard Entertainment and Genevieve Hofmeyr of South Africa’s Moonlighting Films. The project was developed by Fabian through his company Elysian Films.

The book is published this April in the U.S. by Miramax.

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