Oprah Winfrey bringing Ta-Nehisi Coates novel ‘The Water Dancer’ to big screen

The film will be directed by Kamilah Forbes

Ta-Nehisi Coates has written several brilliant books and his novel, The Water Dancer, is being developed into a film by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt

According to THR, Winfrey’s Harpo Films and Pitt’s Plan B are producing the film adaptation for MGM, set to be directed by Kamilah Forbes. 

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“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,” MGM’s film group chairman Michael De Luca and film group president Pamela Abdy said in a statement. 

Oprah Winfrey theGrio.com
Oprah Winfrey attends the premiere of Disney’s “A Wrinkle In Time” at the El Capitan Theatre. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

“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.”

Coates is adapting his own book for the film.

“I’m honored to be working with Harpo, Plan B and my old friend Kamilah Forbes,” he added. “We all believe that MGM is the best home for this adaptation and look forward to bringing it to life.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates thegrio.com
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 04: Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks onstage at the New Yorker Festival 2015 – The Fire This Time at SIR Stage 37 on October 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

Here’s the novel’s official description:

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

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So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures. This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.

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