Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Pitt’s Plan B will produce alongside Kamilah Forbes, who is the executive producer of the Apollo Theater. Forbes recently directed the theatrical adaptation of Coates’ “Between the World and Me,” as well as the upcoming HBO adaptation. Plan B and Harpo Films collaborated on the Oscar-nominated film “Selma” in 2014. Coates has adapted the novel for the screen.
“The Water Dancer” follows Hiram Walker, who was born enslaved and lost his mother at a young age. After almost drowning from crashing a carriage into a river, Hiram discovers that he has a mysterious power related to long-lost memories of his mother, and struggles to understand it.
“Ta-Nehisi’s debut fiction novel has at its heart, a beautiful character in Hiram Walker, whose personal odyssey weaves the supernatural and spiritual, with the terrible reality of the forced separations endured by enslaved people and their families for centuries,” MGM’s Film Group Chairman Michael De Luca and MGM’s Film Group President Pamela Abdy said in a statement. “Hiram’s story is one of devotion to those he loves, and the journey he takes to bring them together. All of us at MGM are incredibly honored to join Ta-Nehisi, Kamilah, Plan B and Harpo Films in bringing this film to the screen.”
Coates added: “I’m honored to be working with Harpo, Plan B and my old friend Kamilah Forbes. We all believe that MGM is the best home for this adaptation and look forward to bringing it to life.”
Coates is represented by UTA, attorneys Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelsein & Lezcano and Gloria Loomis of the Watkins Loomis Agency.
The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the news.