Disney has given the Lupita Nyong’o chess drama “Queen of Katwe” an awards-season release date with a limited launch on Sept. 23, followed by a Sept. 30 expansion.
“Queen of Katwe” is directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding”) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (“The Hoax”) based on Tim Crothers’ book “The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster.” David Oyelowo and newcomer Madina Nalwanga are also starring in the film.
The story follows a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. She receives support from her family and community, and is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.
Nyong’o is playing the mother of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi, who is portrayed by Nalwanga. Robert Katende, who helped train Mutesi, is portrayed by Oyelowo.
Nyong’o won an Oscar for best supporting actress three years ago for her role in “12 Years a Slave.”
Nair is providing an exclusive first look at footage from “Queen of Katwe” on April 24 at the San Francisco Film Festival.