EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Janine Eser (Fanie Fourie’s Lobola) has been brought on to adapt the screenplay to Trevor Noah’s bestselling memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, which has Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o attached to star. Liesl Tommy, the director behind the upcoming Jennifer Hudson-starring Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect, is directing Born a Crime for Paramount Players.
Nyong’o will play Noah’s mother, Patricia, who served as an important figure to her son in his formative years. Set during the waning days of apartheid and the transition into the new South Africa, the memoir details the personal and often painful story of Noah’s youth. At the center of it all is Noah’s fearless mother, Patricia. In 2009, while returning from church service, Patricia was shot in the head by his stepfather but miraculously survived.
Noah is producing the project under his Day Zero Productions label alongside Norman Aladjem of Mainstay Entertainment and Nyong’o through her Eba Productions. Mainstay’s Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin will serve as exec producers.
Eser, repped by Gersh, recently completed writing a political thriller, All the Terrible Ones, for director Giulio Ricciarelli and her screenplay, Underneath, a heist action-thriller produced by David Gerson, will be helmed by Stockholm helmer Robert Budreau.