Writer extraordinaire Ta-Nehisi Coates – who can be seen killing it every month as the scribe of Marvel Comics Captain America title – must be a very happy man indeed today: Through our groovy counterparts at The Hollywood Reporter we’ve received word that Coates’ critically and commercially lauded novel The Water Dancer (not to be confused with the 1992 Eric Stoltz film The Waterdance) is going the film adaptation route courtesy of some slightly influential cats in Hollywood – Media mogul and living legend Oprah Winfrey and The Man Who Was and Will Forever Be Floyd from Tony Scott’s ’93 opus True Romance, Brad Pitt.
The Water Dancer, which was Coates’ first novel, takes place during the pre-Civil War South and chronicles the journey of a young Black man who makes the shocking discovery that his very memories have the power to set off a strange ability of teleportation that can be used to assist escaped slaves flee to the North.
MGM will be the home for The Water Dancer, with Winfrey and Pitt set to band together to produce the film for the studio through their respective production houses, Harpo films (Winfrey) and Plan B (Pitt). Kamilah Forbes, the powerhouse director behind the theatrical event based off of Coates’ sophomore novel Between the World and Me, has also jumped aboard as a producer on the new project.
Prior to The Water Dancer, Pitt and Winfrey had collaborated on Ava DuVernay’s film Selma, allowing us perhaps some slight indication as to the powerful adaptation we can expect when this latest project hits the big screen.
Michael De Luca, MGM’s film group chairman and all-around swell guy, issued a statement about the upcoming film, saying that “Ta-Nehisi’s debut fiction novel has at its heart, a beautiful character in Hiram Walker, whose personal odyssey weaves the supernatural and spiritual, with the terrible reality of the forced separations endured by enslaved people and their families for centuries. Hiram’s story is one of devotion to those he loves, and the journey he takes to bring them together. All of us at MGM are incredibly honored to join Ta-Nehisi, Kamilah, Plan B and Harpo Films in bringing this film to the screen.”
And what does the chronicler of Marvel mainstays such as Cap and the Black Panther have to say about the latest adaptation of his work? Funny you should ask that, Dear Readers: “I’m honored to be working with Harpo, Plan B and my old friend Kamilah Forbes. We all believe that MGM is the best home for this adaptation and look forward to bringing it to life.”