“Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya is set to lead the independent romance drama “Queen & Slim,” written by Lena Waithe.
“Insecure” and “Master of None” helmer Melina Matsoukas is making her feature directorial debut.
Waithe, known for her work on “Master of None” and “The Chi,” wrote the script based on an original idea and treatment from bestselling author James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces”) and a story by Frey and Waithe. “Queen & Slim” will go into pre-production this October with production commencing in January. Matsoukas and Waithe are still searching for a fresh face for the role of Queen.
“Queen & Slim” is an exploration of America’s social and political climate through the lens of a genre-defying love story. The film centers on a black man and black woman who go on a first date that goes awry after the two are pulled over by a police officer at a traffic stop. They kill the police officer in self-defense and rather than turn themselves in, they go on the run.
Waithe is producing the film through her company, Hillman Grad Productions, along with Matsoukas’ production company De La Revolución Films and Frey’s 3BlackDot. Andrew Coles and Michelle Knudsen are also producing.
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“To me, this is protest art,” said Waithe. “It’s about being black and trying to fall in love in a world that’s burning down around you.”
Matsoukas said, “It’s a film that defines black love as a revolutionary act. It shows that our union is the greatest weapon against the assault on black people in America.”
“Queen & Slim” will be distributed by Universal Pictures worldwide with eOne handling distribution in select territories including the U.K. and Canada. The film will be released in North America on Nov. 27, 2019.
This is the first film greenlit under Makeready’s recently announced distribution deal with Universal. eOne is Makeready’s lead investor. Brad Weston’s production company, Makeready, is financing the film, along with 3BlackDot.
Kaluuya, who received a best actor nomination at the Oscars for “Get Out,” most recently appeared as W’Kabi in “Black Panther.”
In 2017, Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win a comedy writing Emmy for the “Thanksgiving” episode of “Master of None.”
Mastoukas is a two-time Grammy Award winner for her “We Found Love” and Beyonce’s “Formation” music videos.
Waithe is represented by WME, Coles at The Mission Entertainment, and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. Matsoukas is represented by CAA, Knudsen at MXN Entertainment and Bianca Levin at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Inc. Kaluuya is represented by CAA, Troika, Management 360 and Ziffren Brittenham. Frey is represented by Guymon Casady at Management 360 and David Krintzman at Morris Yorn.
The deal was brokered by WME and Endeavor Content.