Zendaya will produce and star in the thriller “A White Lie,” playing the first African-American woman to graduate from Vassar College, Variety has learned.
The project is based on Karin Tanabe’s book “The Gilded Years,” which told the true story of Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned, African-American woman who was the descendant of slaves and passed as white so she could attend Vassar during the 1890s. She’s pulled into her elite world where she’s treated as a wealthy, educated white woman who finds romance with a moneyed Harvard student.
Monica Beletsky will write the script, and Zendaya will produce the film alongside Reese Witherspoon and her Hello Sunshine partner Lauren Neustadter.
Zendaya recently starred as the female lead opposite Tom Holland in Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” She will be seen next opposite Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron in Fox’s “The Greatest Showman” as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler. She launched her acting career in 2010 on the Disney Channel sitcom “Shake It Up,” and followed that up with Disney Channel original movie “Zapped” before scoring her own series on the network, “K.C. Undercover.” The series was renewed for a third season last year, which Zendaya also produced.
The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.
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