Aunjanue Ellis To Star In Film Adaptation of Colson Whitehead's 'The Nickel Boys' At MGM's Orion Pictures

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MGM’s Orion Pictures has tapped King Richard star Aunjanue Ellis to lead the film adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Nickel Boys.

The film unveils the real life story of a Florida reform school according to the official description:

The Nickel Boys is Whitehead’s follow-up to his other Pulitzer winner, “The Underground Railroad.” Though the book is fiction, it’s based on the real story of a Florida reform school that, over 111 years, hid decades of abuse against its residents and even had bodies secretly buried on its campus. Alternating between 1960s Tallahassee and the 2010s, the story follows Elwood Curtis, a Black man who survived the school and is now determined to give his testimony about what happened there following a university investigation.

Aujanue Ellis will lead the cast alongside up-and-coming actors.

The film also stars Ethan Herisse and Brandon Wilson, Hamish Linklater and Fred Hechinger.


RaMell Ross, an Oscar nominee for the documentary 'Hale County This Morning, This Evening,' is the director.

“It is an honor to be working with such talented people and trusted with such an incredibly written story, with historical roots,” Ross said in a statement, per IndieWire. “I’m constantly impressed by the passion and creativity of the collection of people moving this project forward.”

Plan B Entertainment, Anonymous Content, and Joslyn Barnes of Louverture Films are producing 'The Nickel Boys,' with Colson Whitehead serving as an executive producer.

“RaMell is a one of the most impactful visual artists of our time, with a singular voice and perspective. With this piece, he is inviting us to see a world enveloped in both beauty and neglect through a unique lens on the Black experience that has yet to be captured in cinema,” Alana Mayo, president of Orion Pictures, said. “Along with our partners at Plan B, Anonymous Content and Joslyn Barnes, we are incredibly proud to have the opportunity to work alongside these incredible artists to bring The Nickel Boys to the screen.”