Timed to coincide with the forthcoming release of “Americanah,” the third novel from heavy-hitting Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the first look at the adaptation of her prize-winning second novel “Half of a Yellow Sun” has arrived, and a handsome fellow it is too.
Featuring Thandie Newton and a bearded and dreamy-as-ever Chiwetel Ejiofor, the story follows a couple whose romance takes place against the background of the Nigeria-Biafra conflict. It’s directed by first-timer Biyi Bandele, who may not have directed a film before, but comes with serious pedigree as a playwright, novelist and theatre director and is considered (along with Adichie) one of Nigeria’s most important writers. Cinematographer John de Borman (“An Education,” “The Full Monty“) adds further credibility along with a supporting class that includes Anika Noni Rose (“The Princess and the Frog“), Genevieve Nnaji, John Boyega (“Attack the Block“) and Joseph Mawle (“Game of Thrones“).
Precious little has been given away about the production so far but the presence of Ejiofor and Newton and the frankly stupendous excellence of the novel are reason enough to keep it on the radar. The clip suggests a pretty polished production and the epic qualities of the story bode well for the adaptation. A possible contender for a Cannes preview showing, expect more to emerge as Adichie hits the literary circuit hard next month for the U.S. release of her novel. Clip below (it starts about 30 seconds in). [Shadow & Act]