Amazon Studios has nabbed the worldwide rights to this year’s Sundance hit, Tayarisha Poe’s Selah and the Spades. Sources close to the situation informed Shadow And Act of the development shortly before the news broke. Not only did Amazon acquire the feature, but they have plans to develop it as an Amazon original series. Poe will write, direct and produce the series with Lauren McBride who also produced the film.
The film stars Lovie Simone (Greenleaf), who garnered rave reviews for her turn in the titular role. The film also stars newly-minted Emmy nominee Jharrel Jerome, Gina Torres, Celeste O’Connor, Jesse Williams, Henry Hunter Hall and Evan Roe.
The synopsis: In the film, five factions run the underground life of the prestigious Haldwell Boarding School. At the head of the most powerful faction – The Spades – sits Selah Summers. By turns charming and callous, she chooses whom to keep close and whom to cut loose, walking the fine line between being feared and loved.
Matt Newman, Co-Head of Movies at Amazon Studios said, “Selah and The Spades is a fun and addictive story that immediately draws you in. I’m so excited to bring filmmaker Tayarisha Poe into the Amazon Studios family – she has such a unique and beautiful style of storytelling that young audiences everywhere will fall in love with, just as we have.”
“I’m thrilled that Selah and The Spades has found a home with Amazon Studios, and doubly excited to see the world of The Haldwell School expand and develop in the serial format,” said Poe. “I’d always hoped to work with a company that realized the multi-format potential of this fictional world, and truly we have found the ideal partners with Amazon.”
We have no specific details about the series, so it is unclear whether this would be a continuation or a redo of the film, in a series format. It is also unclear if stars like Simone, who is a regular on Greenleaf, and Emmy nominee Jerome, now a megastar, would return for a series. It could be a situation like Justin Simien’s Dear White People, which went from film-to-TV. A few stars from the film reprised their roles or took on new ones, while the series’ season 1 pretty much reimagined the storyline from the film.
The film was produced by Lauren McBride, Secret Engine’s Lucas Joaquin and Drew Houpt and Argent Pictures’ Jill Ahrens. Executive producers include Argent partners Ryan Ahrens, Ben Renzo, Drew Brees, Tony Parker, Michael Finley, Derrick Brooks, Terence Nance, Jenifer Westphal, Cinereach, Julie Parker Benello, Nancy Stephens Rosenthal, Chaz Ebert and Alex Scharfman. Stephanie DeVaan, David Chan, Kenneth and Elizabeth Whitney and Gottfried and Janet Tittiger are serving as co-executive producers.