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Daniel Kaluuya’s adaptation of sci-fi novel The Upper World has landed a pair of writers.
Rising British writing team Daniel Fajemisin-Duncan and Marlon Smith have been tapped to adapt the debut novel from Togo-born, British-Nigerian writer Femi Fadugba for Netflix.
Kaluuya is attached to star and produce the project, along with Screen Arcade’s Eric Newman and Bryan Unkeless, who are producing through their first-look deal at Netflix. Fadugba is exec producing.
The time-shifting story centers on Esso, a man caught in a deadly feud who realizes he has an unexpected gift: access to a world where he can see glimpses of the past and the future. A generation away, a young woman named Rhia is walking to football practice in 2035, unaware that the mysterious stranger she’s about to meet desperately needs her help to avert a bullet fired 15 years ago.
Netflix picked up the rights to the book in August 2020. Upper World is the first in a planned series of novels from Penguin UK and HarperCollins U.S. expected to publish in mid-2021 and early 2022, respectively.
Duncan and Smith grew up together in South London and channeled some of their lives into writing crime drama Run, which starred Olivia Colman and Lennie James. The show earned them the RTS Award for best drama writer and the BAFTA Television Craft award for breakthrough talent.
Recently the duo wrote for Sky Atlantic’s Save Me and Save Me Too, which reunited them with James, who created the series. The show won an RTS Award for outstanding drama, best drama writing and was BAFTA-nominated for best drama series. Currently, Duncan and Smith are writing Cordoba, an epic action-adventure series about the Moorish conquest of Spain, for Macro TV Studio.
The duo is repped by CAA, Grandview, and U.K.’s Sayle Screen.