Issa Rae (Insecure) is set to star alongside Amandla Stenberg in the film The Hate U Give, based on debut novel by Angela Thomas inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement.  Film rights have sold to Fox 2000, Temple Hill and State Street, and George Tillman Jr. (Notorious, Beauty Shop) will direct the film adaptation from a script by Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun).

The adaption is based on Thomas’ story and follows a 16 year old girl named Starr (Stenberg) who grew up in a poverty stricken slum, but now attends a suburban prep school.  After she witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend, she’s torn between her two very different worlds as she tries to speak her truth.  Rae will play April, an activist that helps Stenberg’s character find her voice and speak up.

Thomas started working on the story in 2011 while studying at Belhaven University, and found her literary agent, Brooks Sherman, on Twitter, asking if a book based on the Black Lives Matter movement would get any traction.  She shared, “I knew it was timely, but it’s such a sensitive topic.  I was too scared to even send out queries.”  One year later the book was involved in a heated bidding war as multiple studios, producers, and over 13 publishing houses were eager to get a hold of the project considering the timely subject matter.

In addition to Rae and Stenberg, the cast includes Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, and Common.  Full production details have yet to be released, but this film is definitely on our radar!

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Founder, HBR Media

K. Nicole Mills is the Founder of HBR Media. She transitioned from Wall Street to television and film development, and has worked at NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, and Showtime Networks. She currently develops digital programming for premium networks. Reach out anytime! info@hbrmedia.org

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