The project is based on Karin Tanabe’s novel “The Gilded Years.” Hello Sunshine’s Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Levy Neustadter will produce the project with Zendaya. Monica Beletsky (“Fargo,” “The Leftovers”) is writing the script.
“The Gilded Years” 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 the elite world, where she’s treated as a wealthy, educated white woman who finds romance with a moneyed Harvard student.
“Monica, Zendaya, Lauren, and Reese have developed a bold and original approach to Anita’s story that explores complex and timely themes in a way that is sure to thrill audiences,” said Hannah Minghella, president of TriStar Pictures.
Minghella and Nicole Brown will oversee the project for TriStar Pictures.
Zendaya starred opposite Tom Holland in Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and as trapeze artist Anne Wheeler, with Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, in Fox’s “The Greatest Showman.”
Zendaya is represented by CAA, Monster Talent, and Bill Skrzyniarz of Skrzyniarz & Mallean. Hello Sunshine is represented by CAA and attorney Gretchen Rush of Hansen Jacobson. Tanabe is represented by Bridget Wagner Matzie at Aevitas Creative Management. Beletsky is represented by CAA and Tara Kole of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown.