Nia DaCosta will direct the feature film adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ best-selling novel “The Water Dancer.” The film is being backed by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and will be produced by Maceo-Lyn, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films.
DaCosta directed last year’s horror hit “Candyman” and is also stepping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her next feature, the upcoming “The Marvels.” Her first film, “Little Woods,” starred Tessa Thompson and Lily James and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018 before getting released theatrically by Neon.
“The Water Dancer” is a surrealist story that unfolds in the pre–Civil War South. It follows Hiram Walker, born into slavery, who lost his mother as a child and over time loses all memory of her. As a young man, Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but he’s saved from the depths by a mysterious power he never realized he had and struggles to understand. Coates is one of the preeminent cultural and political analysts, well-known for his work at the Atlantic and his non-fiction books such as “Between the World and Me.”
Winfrey named “The Water Dancer” as her first Oprah’s Book Club selection in partnership with Apple, and the book has been named one of the best books of the year by the likes of NPR, The Washington Post and Vanity Fair. It is published by One World, an imprint of Random House, and has over a million copies in print.
The film marks a second collaboration between Plan B and Coates, who are also in development on the feature film “Wrong Answer,” with Ryan Coogler directing and Michael B. Jordan starring. The author is set to adapt Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker story of the same name.
Plan B has several projects set at MGM as part of its overall second-look feature film deal with the studio, including Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Miriam Toews’ novel “Women Talking”; Cory Finley’s adaptation of M.T. Anderson’s novel “Landscape With Invisible Hand”; and an original film from “Minari” writer and director Lee Isaac Chung.
Maceo-Lyn is a production company formed by long-time friends and collaborators Kamilah Forbes, Kenyatta Matthews and Coates.
DaCosta is repped by CAA, Management 360, Casarotto Ramsay & Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang.