×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Michael B. Jordan, Warner Bros. Nab Film Rights to ‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’

Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society and Warner Bros. have nabbed the film rights to “Black Leopard, Red Wolf,” a buzzy new fantasy novel by Marlon James.

“Black Leopard, Red Wolf” draws on African mythology to tell the story of Tracker, whose acute sense of smell leads him to be hired to find a missing child against a backdrop of warring kingdoms and political chaos. The child he seeks may be the heir to an empire, something that complicates matters. James referred to the often bloody epic as an “African ‘Game of Thrones,’” but later said he was joking. Still, it includes plenty of the elements that made that HBO show a water-cooler phenomenon including witches, a shape-shifting leopard, a killer hyena, and conjoined twins.

The book is the initial entry in James’ planned Dark Star Trilogy. James, best known for writing the best-seller “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” will serve as executive producer of the project. It’s the first acquisition since Warners and Jordan’s production banner Outlier Society announced their first look deal.

James, a Booker Prize winner, also wrote “John Crow’s Devil.” He received a master’s degree in creative writing from Wilkes University and is currently a professor of literature at Macalester College in Minnesota. “A Brief History of Seven Killings” is reportedly being adapted by Amazon Studios as a possible TV series.

Riverhead Books published the novel on Feb. 4. Reviews for “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” have been largely positive with Rolling Stone calling the book ” a stunning, word-drunk take on sword-and-sorcery sagas” and the New York Times praising James for crafting “characters who will take their place in the pantheon of memorable and fantastical superheroes.”

Anonymous Content and Ellen Levine of Trident Media Group brokered the deal.

Founded by Jordan, the star of “Black Panther” and “Creed,” Outlier Society’s mandate is to foster an “eclectic and inclusive lineup of diverse stories and voices.” The company was one of the first companies to publicly adopt the inclusion rider, which is intended to create more opportunities for women and people of color both in front of and behind the camera. Upcoming projects include WWII action drama “The Liberators,” the sci-fi hour-long series “Raising Dion,” and the OWN drama series “David Makes Man” from Oscar-winning “Moonlight” co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fiddlin'

    Film Review: 'Fiddlin''

    Not many forms of music have “old-” actually built into their name as a prefix. So it’s a given that the practitioners of the 200-year-old genre known as “old-time music” will wear their antiquity proudly in “Fiddlin’,” a documentary set in and around the 80th annual Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. What may not [...]

  • Jonah Hill attends the press conference

    Jonah Hill Passes on Role in 'The Batman'

    After being offered a role in “The Batman,” Jonah Hill has moved on from the project. Why exactly Hill is passing is currently unknown, and insiders tell Variety that when the news was initially reported, it was very early in the negotiations and that a deal was far from closing. The news comes after Zoe [...]

  • Daniel Kaluuya Elizabeth Moss

    SCAD Savannah Film Festival Honorees Include Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss

    Daniel Kaluuya, Elisabeth Moss, Danielle Macdonald, Aldis Hodge, Valerie Pachner, Samantha Morton, Sienna Miller, Alan Silvestri and Olivia Wilde are set to be honored at the 22nd Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Breakout Award honorees include Beanie Feldstein, Kaitlyn Dever, Jharrel Jerome, Mena Massoud and Camila Morrone. Macdonald, who appears on Netflix in “Unbelievable” and [...]

  • Alexander Skarsgard, Nicole Kidman. Alexander Skarsgard,

    Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard to Reunite for Robert Eggers' 'The Northman'

    With his latest film “The Lighthouse” set to bow this weekend, Robert Eggers’ next film has cast two leads, “Big Little Lies” alums Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård. The pic, titled “The Northman,” is described as a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of the 10th century. In talks to join Kidman [...]

  • Jessica Henwick

    'Matrix 4' Taps 'Iron Fist' Star Jessica Henwick

    Jessica Henwick is in final negotiations to star in the upcoming fourth installment of the “Matrix” franchise. She joins Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, who will be reprising their roles in the film, as well as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who was tapped as one of the leads last week. Neil Patrick Harris also just joined [...]

  • Frozen 2

    Record 32 Animated Feature Films Submitted for Oscars

    “The Addams Family,” “Frozen II,” “Toy Story 4,” “Abominable” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2” are among the record 32 movies submitted for the animated feature film category at the 2020 Oscars. Last year’s Academy Awards race boasted 25 entries, while 2017 had 26 and 2016 had 27 (a then-record). The list of contenders [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content