Sixteen-year-old Willow Smith, who, lately, has been more focused on her music than on her acting (recall she was originally supposed to star in the 2014 remake of “Annie,” produced by her father Will Smith, but would opt out of the project so that she could focus on being a kid), is apparently easing her way back into acting, teaming up (via her MSFTS Production shingle) with Cartel Entertainment on 2 films that she may also star in.
The first will be an adaptation of author Alwyn Hamilton’s fantasy-romance YA trilogy “Rebel of the Sands,” which both companies have acquired the rights to; and the second will be something called “Menencholy” (not a typo; not Melancholy, but Menencholy), which is an animated series based on an original idea by Willow, which she’s also proposing as a book.
Hamilton’s “Rebel of the Sands” was published just a year ago. According to Publishers Weekly, the sought-after YA debut novel by the London-based 26-year-old Hamilton was eventually acquired by Penguin Young Readers Group in an eight-house auction. Set in a mystical desert nation called Mirahin, “Sands” follows “a gun-slinging girl desperate to escape her past, and a handsome foreigner who harbors dangerous secrets,” according to PYRG.
While it will be a trilogy, only the first and second books have been written and published so far (“Rebel of the Sands” and “Traitor to the Throne” which was published just last month); the final book will come eventually.
The trilogy has been acquired as a potential starring vehicle for Willow Smith.
The second project, “Menencholy,” also a work of fantasy (based on an original idea by Willow, which she’s also proposing as a book) chronicles the epic journey of a young girl who has a gift that “allows her to see into her past life. She eventually finds herself at a mystical place called The Mystery School, where we follow her as she goes through a metamorphosis” (Deadline); ultimately, she realizes that there’s an even stronger power that lies inside her that she needs to accept, because it will save her and the community in which she lives.
No word on whether Willow also plans to star in “Menencholy,” but we can only assume.
She will, at the very least, produce/exec produce the films with her manager Miguel Melendez and Cartel Entertainment brass.
The news comes as her brother, Jaden Smith, prepares to star in a romantic drama titled “Life in a Year,” which is being produced by papa Will Smith.
If you’ve read “Rebels of the Sands,” chime in with your reactions to it. You can pick up a copy here.
Deadline was first to report the news on both projects.