Rick Famuyiwa, director of the critical darling, coming-of-age movie Dope, has signed on to direct Children of Blood and Bone, Fox 2000’s adaptation of the best-selling YA novel by Tomi Adeyemi.
Famuyiwa will also produce under production shingle Verse, making it one of the first projects for the recently launched company. Verse’s Scott Falconer will serve as associate producer.
Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner and John Fischer of Temple Hill, the prolific banner whose recent credits includeLove, Simon, First Man and the Maze Runner movies, are producing along with Karen Rosenfelt via her Sunswept Entertainment company.
The book is set in a magic-infused kingdom named Orisha, where a young woman named Zelie Adebola witnesses the death of her mother and other magicians, called “maji,” under the order of a ruthless king. The woman has a chance to restore magic to her land but has to first team up with a rogue princess and outwit and outrun a crown prince while avoiding prowling snow “leoponaires” and vengeful spirits that wait in the waters.
Adeyemi made headlines in the publishing world when she sold her debut book in the seven-figure range, one of the biggest for a YA debut. The book, which the author has pitched as an “African Last Airbender” and “Black Panther with magic,” was published March 6, 2018, and hit best-seller status. The second novel in an intended trilogy, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, will be released June 4, 2019.
David Magee wrote the script adapting the book. Gillian Bohrer is overseeing for Fox 2000.
Famuyiwa has directed several movies about the black American experience but really caught the attention of studio execs with Dope, which centered on teens from Inglewood, California, and was a Sundance hit. The movie led to his hiring on the Warner Bros. Flash movie, although he later left the project over creative differences.
Famuyiwa helmed the HBO movie Confirmation, which starred Kerry Washington as Anita Hill, and is currently working on The Mandalorian, the Star Wars live-action TV show that will air on Disney+.
He is repped by WME, Oasis Media Group and Del Shaw.