'Hunger Games' Actress to Star in Black Lives Matter YA Novel Adaptation (Exclusive)

Amandla Stenberg GETTY - H 2016
John Parra/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter

Film rights for The Hate U Give, a YA novel inspired by Black Lives Matter, have sold to Fox 2000,Temple Hill and State Street in a competitive situation.

Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg will star and George Tillman Jr. will direct the film adaptation from a script by Audrey Wells.

A bidding war erupted after the book began making the rounds last week. There was interest from multiple studios and producers in the timely upcoming book, which is the debut novel from Angela Thomas. The film rights deal comes on the heels of the splashy 13-house auction in February that saw HarperCollins' Balzer and Bray take the publishing rights.

Thomas' story follows a 16-year-old girl named Starr who grew up in a poverty-stricken slum, but now attends a suburban prep school. After she witnesses a police officer shoot her unarmed best friend, she's torn between her two very different worlds as she tries to speak her truth.

Thomas started working on the story in 2011 while studying at Belhaven University. She even sought out her literary agent, Brooks Sherman, via Twitter, asking if a book based on the Black Lives Matter movement would get any traction. The title is based on Tupac Shakur’s tattoo, "T.H.U.G."

Fox 2000 and Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey's Temple Hill previously released the hit John Green adaptation The Fault in Our Stars, and have optioned several other books including Andrea Portes' novel Liberty and Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. Temple Hill is represented by UTA and attorney Ken Richman.

Audrey Wells, who adapted Under the Tuscan Sun, is repped by UTA, David Lonner and Steve Warren.

Stenberg, who played Rue in The Hunger Games and voiced a character in Rio 2, is represented by UTA and Del Shaw.

Tillman, who previously helmed The Longest Ride, Notorious and Barbershop, is repped by CAA.

UTA co-represented Angela Thomas with her publishing agent, Brooks Sherman of The Bent Agency.