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‘Ex Machina’ Producers Eyeing Zadie Smith’s Gambian Refugee Novella ‘Embassy of Cambodia’

'Ex Machina' Producers Eyeing Zadie Smith's Gambian Refugee Novella 'Embassy of Cambodia'

Film4 (the movie division of UK broadcaster Channel 4) has announced the development of a “refugee drama” from writer Zadie Smith, which will be produced by DNA Films, the producers of the sci-fi hit “Ex Machina.”

The news was shared in an exclusive interview with Screen magazine, in which Film4 reps shared the company’s upcoming slate.

The currently untitled project is described as “half-adaptation, half original story,” and is inspired by Zadie Smith’s 2013 novella “The Embassy of Cambodia,” which follows a Gambian woman’s trip by boat to the UK via Libya and Italy.

Film4 aims to fast-track the project into production, as a precursor to the movie studio’s long in development adaptation of another novel by Smith, “On Beauty,” which was previously announced, with Kasi Lemmons attached.

“We’re trying to take the £15m ($23m) we’ve been allocated and make that go as far as possible through backing new voices and material while also seeing a return on our investments,” said Film4 chief David Kosse to Screen magazine.

This will be Zadie Smith’s 3rd feature film project currently in development. In June she was recruited by French auteur Claire Denis to pen the script for the director’s new film, which is described as “a space adventure set beyond our solar system in a future that seems like the present.”

Making her screenwriting debut, Smith, author of the award-winning bestselling novel “White Teeth,” will write the script with her husband, Nick Laird, and Claire Denis, for the currently untitled film, which will be Denis’ first in English.

Pick up a copy of the timely “Embassy of Cambodia” here.

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