×

‘Vida’ Director Joins Universal’s ‘Talent Show’ From ‘The Hate U Give’ Producers (EXCLUSIVE)

Gandja Monteiro, who has gained recognition for her work on Starz’s series “Vida,” will direct Universal Pictures’ “Talent Show,” based on an idea by Duane Adler from the “Step Up” franchise.

Lena Waithe wrote the latest version of the script, with an earlier version by Adler. “The Hate U Give” producers George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel will produce for their State Street Pictures. Waithe will executive produce.

The pic tells the story of a failed songwriter who returns home to Chicago to lead a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show. Senior executive vice president of production Erik Baiers and senior vice president of production Sara Scott will oversee the project on behalf of Universal. Jay Marcus, who runs development at State Street Pictures, will oversee on behalf of the company.

This marks another strong move by Universal and studio chairman Donna Langley in diversifying its pool of directors with more female filmmakers. Universal recently tapped “Black Panther” DP Rachel Morrison to make her directorial debut on “Flint Strong,” as well Stella Meghie, who recently started filming “The Photograph” for the studio.

It also marks Monteiro’s first movie for a major studio, having mainly worked on short films in addition to “Vida.” She was a participant in the 2018 Universal Directors Initiative, and is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and Fox’s Directing Lab for Women. She’s also worked on commercials and branded content for companies including Nike, Adidas, Google, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Chevrolet and Smirnoff, and music videos for rappers like Pusha-T.

She is repped by Verve, LBI Entertainment and Morris Yorn. Waithe is repped by WME, the Mission Entertainment and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. Tillman Jr. and Teitel are represented by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Tillman Jr. is also represented by Gotham.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Leads Crowded Weekend With $21 Million

    The Bean Bag Boys, the self-appointed nickname for the trio of best friends in Universal’s “Good Boys,” are conquering much more than sixth grade. They are also leading the domestic box office, exceeding expectations and collecting $21 million on opening weekend. “Good Boys,” which screened at 3,204 North American theaters, is a much-needed win for [...]

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content