David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o are in talks for Disney’s “Queen of Katwe,” based on the true story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi.
Mira Nair is directing “Queen” from a William Wheeler script. Disney is planning to start shooting in the spring in South Africa and Uganda.
The project is based on Tim Crothers’ 2011 ESPN The Magazine article and book “The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster.” From a slum in Uganda, Mutesi became a Woman Candidate Master after her performance at the World Chess Olympiad with the help of Robert Katende, who would be portrayed by Oyelowo.
Nyong’o will portray Phiona’s mother, Harriet Mutesi.
John Carls and Lydia Dean Pilcher are producing with ESPN Films.
Oyelowo is currently seen as Martin Luther King Jr. in Paramount’s “Selma.” He and Nyong’o are also attached to star in a movie version of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s romance novel “Americanah” with Brad Pitt’s Plan B, D2 Prods. and Potboiler Prods.
Oyelowo and Nyong’o are repped by CAA, and Nair by ICM Partners. Nyong’o is also repped by D2 Management and attorney Nina Shaw. Oyelowo is also repped by Hamilton Hodell, Inphenate and attorney Ira Schreck.
News was first reported by Deadline.com.