Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey are joining forces as producers to bring the Ta-Nehisi Coates bestseller The Water Dancer to the big screen.
Entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter says that Pitt’s Plan B and Winfrey’s Harpo Films are producing the film for studio MGM. Director Kamilah Forbes, who previously brought Coates’ non-fiction book Between the World and Me to the stage, will be behind the lens and will also produce.
Set in the pre-Civil War US South, The Water Dancer tells the story of Hiram Walker, an African-American man with superpowers. Hiram’s ability to transport himself over great distances leads him to help African-American slaves escape via the Underground Railroad of safe houses and secret routes.
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Coates has adapted his debut novel for the screen. It was one of Winfrey’s selections for her Oprah’s Book Club. The Water Dancer was also named one of the books of 2019 by Time, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair and many more.
In a joint statement, studio MGM’s film group chairman Michael De Luca and film group president Pamela Abdy said: “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.
“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 honoured to join Ta-Nehisi, Kamilah, Plan B and Harpo Films in bringing this film to the screen.”
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