Netflix orders 'Dear White People' as a television series
May 06, 2016 at 6:40 am
Dear White People is coming to Netflix as an original series in 2017. Justin Simien, the film’s producer and director, is back at it with a hands-on role in the creative process. He will write all 10, 30-minute episodes of the first season and direct the series premiere. His 2014 crowdfunded movie became an instant overnight sensation earning the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent at the Sundance Film Festival, eventually grossing $4.4 million domestically.
In a statement about his journey and Dear White People‘s move to Netflix, Simien said,”During the film’s release, I had the pleasure to speak with hundreds of students and faculty across a variety of college campuses dealing with these very issues in real time. I’m so grateful to have this platform – not only to give a voice to those too often unheard in our culture, but to also tell great stories from new points of views. From day one, Lionsgate has been remarkably supportive of the vision for the show, and working with Netflix is every bit as harmonious as I’d imagined it would be. Bringing this show to such a vibrant platform is an honor I don’t take lightly.”
As for casting, those details have not been released. It’s unclear whether any of the breakout stars from the film like Tessa Thompson and Teyonah Parris will reprise their roles in this adaptation, or if the story will follow the same characters that we know from the film. However, much of the original concept is in place—Black students campaign to make their voices heard at a largely white Ivy League institution.
Simien’s vision for Dear White People is receiving praise and strong backing from Netflix. “Justin is a gifted storyteller whose bold, unique vision is perfectly suited to Netflix,” said Cindy Holland, Vice President of Original Content at Netflix. “His original film Dear White People announced the arrival of a fresh, creative voice that had everyone talking, and we’re excited to have Justin create this new series for our members worldwide.”
The film turned comedy series is in good company with Netflix’s critically acclaimed series, Orange Is the New Black, both in association with Lionsgate Television.