Biopic on 'Out of Africa' Writer Karen Blixen Planned

@Søren Rønholt
May el-Toukhny

'Queen of Hearts' director May el-Toukhy will helm 'The Lioness' on the Danish writer whose autobiography was adapted as the 1985 Oscar winner.

Karen Blixen is going back to Africa.

Scandinavian film studio Nordisk Film has greenlit The Lionees, a biopic on the late Danish writer, best known for her 1937 autobiography Out of Africa, which was turned into the 1985 Oscar-winning film starring Meryl Streep as Blixen alongside Robert Redford.

May el-Toukhy, director of Sundance drama Queen of Hearts, is attached to direct. She will co-write the script with Jakob Weis (That Time of Year) based on The Lioness, a  new biography on Blixen by acclaimed author and historian Tom Buk-Swienty. The book, and film, will focus on Blixen's live as a coffee farmer in Kenya from 1914-31, the period of time covered in Out of Africa.

“I have always regarded Karen Blixen as a victim. As a woman who paid a high price on a personal level in spite the great recognition she received in her professional life as an author," el-Toukhy said in a statement. "But when I read Tom Buk-Swienty’s book I realized that her life in Africa was filled with contradictions.

She was not only a victim — she was also dominant and enslaved by her emotions. My dream is to create a film about the experiences that gave birth to the literature of Karen Blixen later in life. It is the story of a privileged woman with an almost greedy lust for adventure. She strives to live an authentic life and thereby challenges the expectations of the bourgeois structures she was brought up in. And once she returns from Africa after 17 turbulent years she is forever changed."

Mikael Rieks (Land of Mine) will produce The Lioness for Nordisk Film Production. The film is set to deliver in 2022.