The film is being co-developed and financed by Gamechanger, a production company and development fund dedicated to projects by and about women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities. The film is slated to shoot this fall.
“Pale Horse” is based on a story by Chris Courtney Martin (“The Last Laugh”), with a screenplay by Asabi Lee and Paul Hart-Wilden (“Wolf Town”). Described as a psychological thriller set in the Pacific Northwest, the film follows an African American woman named Naia, who is also a celebrated, reclusive author living with multiple sclerosis. As the story progresses, Naia finds herself ensnared in a diabolical mystery when she shelters the man who escaped captivity with her long-missing brother.
“I’m super excited to work with Gamechanger on my first feature,” Sidibe said in a statement. “This project is a true stand-out and the character of Naia is a badass! Effie and Wellington are powerhouse visionaries and I’m so excited to be able to work with them to create this gripping thriller with complex characters.”
Gamechanger CEO Effie T. Brown (“Dear White People,” “Real Women Have Curves”) and Wellington Love (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) are set to produce the project on behalf of Gamechanger Films.
“Stories like ‘Pale Horse’ are long overdue in the entertainment industry, and Gamechanger is dedicated to financing and producing them: entertaining films that offer diversity in storytelling, characters and filmmakers,” Brown said. “In addition to our development and producing commitments, we plan to demystify the process of production through our social and partnership channels, pulling back the curtain on what it really takes to create a film. We want people of all communities to feel included in and empowered by this process.”
Brown adds: “I have known Gabourey for some time and am always impressed with her skills as a storyteller, both as an actor or author. She will be an incredible force behind ‘Pale Horse.'”
In 2009, Sidibe made her film debut in Lee Daniels’ “Precious,” earning an Academy Award nomination for her performance. Since then, the actor has appeared in films including “Antebellum,” “Come as You Are” and “Tower Heist,” as well as Showtime’s “The Big C,” Hulu’s “Difficult People,” several seasons of Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” anthology and as a series regular on Fox’s “Empire” (playing Becky, as well as directing two episodes of the series). Sidibe is also the author of the 2017 memoir, “This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare.”
Recent Gamechanger projects include Rebecca Hall’s “Passing,” starring Oscar nominee Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and sold to Netflix for nearly $16 million. The company is also behind the debut feature from Oscar-winning producer Oorlagh George, “Stranger With a Camera,” which is currently in post-production.
Sidibe is represented by UTA, Authentic Talent and Literary Management, Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson. Lee and Hart-Wilden are represented by Story Driven. Martin is represented by Gersh, ROAR and Zerner Law.