Universal Pictures has optioned City Of Saints & Thieves, the bestselling debut novel by Natalie C. Anderson.  According to Deadline, Will Packer’s Will Packer Productions and Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street production company are in negotiations to produce. James Lopez, Packer’s Head of Motion Pictures, will also produce alongside Washington and Packer. Melina Matsoukas (Insecure) is being sought as director.

The story revolves around the protagonist is Tina, a girl who has been living on the streets of Kenya since her mother’s murder. Recruited by a gang of orphans and street kids, Tina gets closer to exacting revenge for her mother’s death, but soon discovers that she may not have all the facts.

Last year, Washington signed an overall deal with ABC Studios for her newly launched production company Simpson Street (named after the street where Washington’s mom grew up in the Bronx).  Under the two-year agreement, Simpson Street will develop broadcast, cable and digital projects exclusively for ABC Studios and ABC Signature.  Washington is also executive producing ABC drama project Patrol, about four female LAPD officers, which is written by Chitra Elizabeth Sampath.  Simpson Street’s first movie was the HBO film Confirmation, in which Washington starred as attorney and academic Anita Hill, and she is currently developing the upcoming TriStar film, The Perfect Mother.

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