Ava DuVernay is set to direct, write and produce her first feature film for Netflix, an adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s NYT bestseller Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
The project reunites DuVernay with Netflix exec Tendo Nagenda after the two collaborated on A Wrinkle in Time, the 2018 Disney sci-fi adventure pic that cemented DuVernay as the first Black woman to direct a live-action film that grossed more than $100 million at the domestic box office.
Through a multiple-story structure, Caste examines the unspoken system that has shaped America and chronicles how our lives today are defined by a hierarchy of human divisions dating back generations.
DuVernay, Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes are producing the project via Array Filmworks.
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DuVernay is no stranger to putting a lens on pertinent social issues that affect many people, especially those in the Black community. She did so with 13th, the hard-hitting critically acclaimed documentary that gives an in-depth history of systemic racism within the prisons and justice system, as well as When They See Us, the limited series that gave a voice to “The Exonerated Five” Black men who fell victim to such an unjust and broken system when they were wrongfully convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger in Central Park as adolescents.
Along with drawing wide attention to the injustices that plague the country, these narratives were critically lauded and earned a number of accolades for DuVernay including BAFTA, Emmy and Peabody Award wins as well as an Oscar nomination for 13th. When They See Us received 16 Emmy nominations, with star Jharrel Jerome winning for outstanding lead actor.
DuVernay currently is producing Colin In Black & White, a Netflix limited series based on the adolescent life of athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick. She is repped by Nina Shaw and Gordon Bobb of Del, Moonves, Shaw.
Wilkerson was awarded the Pulitzer in journalism for her profile of a fourth-grade boy from Chicago’s South Side and for her reporting on the 1993 Midwestern flood. Her debut novel, 2010’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, is about the 20th century great migration of African Americans from the South to the Midwest, Northeast and West. Wilkerson is repped by ICM.
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