Makeready has won an intense bidding war to finance Queen & Slim, per several trade publications.
Lena Waithe scripts the film. Melina Matsoukas will direct, and Daniel Kaluuya is the male lead.
Based on an original idea and treatment from James Frey, Queen & Slim is said to explore the social and political climate of America through a black love story likened to Bonnie and Clyde. The plot centers on a black man and woman whose first date goes left when they are pulled over by an officer at a traffic stop. Killing the officer in self-defense, they decide not to turn themselves in and go on the run to Cuba.
Kaluuya, one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood (next seen in Steve McQueen’s Widows), will play Slim. Matsoukas and Waithe are looking for a “fresh face” to play the role of Queen.
“To me, this is protest art. It’s about being black and trying to fall in love in a world that’s burning down around you,” Waithe said.
“It’s a film that defines black love as a revolutionary act. It shows that our union is the greatest weapon against the assault on black people in America,” Matsoukas added.
Universal has stateside distribution rights, where it will be released on November 27, 2019. Production will begin in January.
Waithe is producing through her Hillman Grad Productions, Matsoukas through her De La Revolución Films and Frey’s 3BlackDot. Andrew Coles and Michelle Knudsen are also producing.
This will be the feature debut for Matsoukas, who is an acclaimed music video director who has recently transitioned to television and now film. The television episodes she’s directed include Insecure and Master of None. She is helming the pilot for Y: The Last Man at FX and is adapting A Brief History of Seven Killings at Amazon.