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Gina Prince-Bythewood and Gugu Mbatha-Raw Reteam for ‘An Untamed State’ Adaptation

Gina Prince-Bythewood and Gugu Mbatha-Raw Reteam for 'An Untamed State' Adaptation

Gina Prince-Bythewood and Gugu Mbatha-Raw are teaming up a second time (after 2014’s “Beyond the Lights”), to tackle author Roxane Gay’s 2014 novel, “An Untamed State,” which tells the story of a woman kidnapped for ransom, which her rich father refuses to pay, while her husband fights to get her released, as she struggles to come to terms with the ordeal and its aftermath.

An official synopsis reads: Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.

Amazon reviews call “An Untamed State” a novel of “privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce.”

It was Gay’s debut novel. 

Prince-Bythewood will co-adapt the novel to screenplay with the author.

The project is set up at Fox Searchlight, with Michael De Luca producing via his Michael De Luca Productions shingle, with Prince-Bythewood.

Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel will executive produce.

Prince-Bythewood is currently working on “Shots Fired” with hubby Reggie Rock Bythewood, for Fox TV – an event series starring Sanaa Lathan.

Meanwhile, Mbatha-Raw has “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey and “The Whole Truth” with Keanu Reeves later this year.

Deadline was first to report the news on “Untamed State.” You can pick up a copy of the novel here.

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@CareyCarey The thing is the blogs on Indiewire are majority white owned and I think S&A is the only black owned. So I don’t think a movie like Cadillac Records would be accurate. Plus, if truth be told, Motown wasn’t any different from Chess Records. The only difference is when it was sold, its artists still remained with Motown.


Just like Indiewire, the business was sold, Leaving the black artists out in the cold. It was Chess Records located in Chicago Illinois.


@ Troublemaker, the movie "Cadillac Records" centered around a white businessman who "backed" early recording artist. He could be called a white savior. Well, although the artists gained some "popularity", he owned EVERYTHING! Well, not only did he own the recordings and the label, he in essence owned them. The artist had contractual agreements which gave them little wiggle-room (no bargaining chips), not to mention, NO POWER. So now can you see why I compared the movie "Cadillac Records" to S&A’s present predicament?


@CAREYCAREY I guess I was more focus on your second comment rather than your first. Regarding Gina’s movie starring Gugu, I don’t think folks are going to forget what she said because the same director is using the same actress to target the same black female audience. I hope she knows what she is doing because if this movie fails, it is really going to hurt the actress. Gina is hoping to fall back on her soon to be release TV series but if that fails also, then both of them have dig their graves! Regard S&A, I watched Cadillac Records when it came out but I can’t seem to remember what happened in it for nothing! I know Jeffery Wright played Muddy Waters, Adrien Brody played the owner and Beyonce played Etta James but I don’t remember anything other than that. I haven’t seen it recently but for some reason Stax records keeps popping up in my head when I think of Cadillac Records. I saw the documentary on Stax Records and for some reason that stands out in mind. So I’m lost to why you chose to compared S&A to Cadillac Records.


@ Troublemaker, maybe you missed my point.I DON’T CARE! I don’t care what Reggie has said, has done, nor his involvement with his wife. But this—> "Whenever, I typed in S&A, I was always routed to indiewire then I was routed back to S&A. Guess who got those clicks?". Now you’ve arrived!!! I smell a script. "Cadillac Records" like.


@CAREYCAREY You don’t have to believe me. He said it himself that he helped write Beyond the Lights. He is not credited on the film as a writer but he got producer credit. I think the interview was posted on this site. Go look it up for yourself. Gun Hill was never picked up by BET as a series. Love & Basketball catapulted Gina’s directing and writing career. Unfortunately, Reggie never had that one break out hit. His imdb page shows after Gina had success with Love & Basketball, she was one of the producers on Biker Boyz and he was the one who wrote, directed it. He was also a producer but after the success of Love & Basketball, it helped that Gina’s name was on there as a producer. As of late, I do believe that he is riding his wife’s coat tails! I don’t think Gina have a problem with it because she wants to help her husband succeed. Speaking about S&A, the thing is Indiewire looked out for itself. Whenever, I typed in S&A, I was always routed to indiewire then I was routed back to S&A. Guess who got those clicks?


@ Troublemaker… "Her husband’s Gun Hill didn’t really do well with the audience ". I disagree. And, I don’t agree with your take on his involvement in her… "the crap that she is doing". Anyway, you may be right… "It may be the nail in her coffin". I hope not but she’s in need of tough love. Hey, speaking of tough love, I believe Tambay and Sergio could use some "wise" love. Based on what I’m reading at the post on S&A’s future, there are Vidal messages one can learn. 1st, beware of Greeks bearing gifts. The saying is adapted from the words of Laocoon in the story of the Trojan horse. Feeling me? Tambay was all smiles as he entertained a few fellow filmmakers at his pre-Shadow and Act blog. Then, one lonely night, there was a knock at his door. In walked a Greek God called Indiewire Now, a few years later, that same "Greek" who was bearing gifts has left a note. NOTICE: "Shadow and Act, I think ya better call Tyrone! (Call Him) and tell him come on, help you get your sh*t." And Troublemaker, I was going to comment/write a similar "heads-up" at the other post but with many giving eulogys of sort, it felt like a funeral over there. And lord knows ya can’t speak bad about the dead. So it’s here I lay my wisdom for today. A place few will read except you and I.


@CAREYCAREY I think she got a second chance because she was very vocal when she was complaining about that Gawd awful Beyond The Lights. Now with this so called diversity campaign that is going on in Hollywood, she is benefiting from it. This movie is not going to help her. It maybe the nail in her coffin. I don’t believe she knows how to do a good adaption of this particular book. There are a lot of nuances that I don’t think she will be able to translate well on script and then on film because it calls for someone who knows or at least understand Haitian culture. I think Gina’s husband might be behind the crap that she is doing. I remember her saying that her husband helped her write Beyond the Lights and I remember him taking credit just before the movie opened. Her husband’s Gun Hill movie on BET didn’t really do well with the audience and he wasn’t given an opportunity to take this movie into a series so he is riding on his wife coat tails. His only project is the TV one he’s doing with Gina. In regards to Beyond the Lights, the film had a bad script and an actress that don’t see herself as black but biracial. That alone doesn’t sit well with the targeted audience which is black women. Gina should have included another lead actress who was similar in age who would attract the black female audience. Since she didn’t write a good script, she couldn’t really do it. The movie really should have been on BET or TV One. No one should have to pay to see it.




@ Troublemaker, off the top of my head… Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight, Anomalisa, Son of Saul and The Hateful Eight are films I’ve seen with very interesting, different and well-written stories. Why did I mention them? Well, short answer, of all the different stories yet to be told, Gina chooses the story of a woman (a black woman) who is kidnapped for ransom, which her rich father refuses to pay. Really? What!? So I wonder WHY, why THAT story?! Is she trying to "prove" something? Look, there is the old adage in criminal trials that describes a person who represents himself at trial: "He has a fool for a client". Additionally, I’ve heard it said that ‘a physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient’. Also, last, but in this case, surely not least… ‘If you are the smartest person in your circle, you’re in the wrong circle’. I am suggesting that Gina Prince-Bythewood may be a many splendid things, but at this stage in her career, imo, it’s time for a personal inventory. It may behoove her to look inside to find her strong suit and pass or fold her other cards. Hey, a business which takes no regular inventory will soon go broke. All that to say I believe she’s showing the behavior of the above ill-advised. She needs a new doctor, a new lawyer and a new circle of friends because as it stands she’s blowing it (BIG TIME). And sadly, she does not seem to know it. So Troublemaker, what’s your take on Gina’s mission? And, do you have an opinion on her strong suit. And, why do you believe she’s being given this rare second opportunity after her not-so-successful "Beyond The Lights"? I know, that a tuff question. Many believe the movie’s lack-luster results had little to do with any of Gina’s responsibilities. In fact, at S & A’s post ‘Beyond The Lights Didn’t Exactly Catch Fire at The Box Office This Weekend. What Were The Reasons Why?’, 91 comments told the whole and real story.


@ Troublemaker, you are consistent…"Gina herself admitted that the screenplay for Beyond The Lights went through a lot of rewrites. There lies the problem. The script was weak and it showed in the trailer and the poster" by Troublemaker, Nov 2014. RE: carrying on about this is not a black film, you also said, "to add insult to injury, I think that putting the biracial woman in the lead, then targeting this film to black women was a huge fail". And now, here we are again, Gugu is the lead and Prince-Bythewood will co-adapt the novel to screenplay with the author. So it’s safe to say this movie is already standing in quicksand. And there’s more more thing I must mention. Although Gina Prince-Bythewood says she’d like to see the end of the words "black film", the overwhelming majority of whites will consider this as just that, a black film. Consequently, she better hope and pray we are not like the elephant who never forgets. You know, she sort of kicked us to the curb by her, as you said, "carrying on about this is not a black film". It’s not wise to piss off your core audience. The box office will speak loud and clear… love me, love us or we’ll leave you alone.


I just hope Ms. Gina will not be carrying on about "this is not a black film" and focus on adapting a great and interesting story. Beyond the Lights was an awfully written screenplay and should have been in the WTF section on Netflix!


SPECIAL REPORT! CareyCarey, Shadow and Act’s new roving correspondent, interviews film director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Carey’s interviewing style is not your father’s Oldsmobile. Well, James Lipton (Inside the Actors Studio) has his famous ten questions. Larry King’s open ended questions results in a "soft" interview. Oprah Winfrey uses a group therapy, soul searching technique in-which I deem the "crying couch" style of interviewing. Howard Sterns’ provocative style has earned him the nickname, The Shock Jock. CareyCarey’s style uses the hair pomade Brylcreem’s jingle "— A Little Dab’ll Do Ya!".He borrows from each of the above. He’s soft one moment, then, BAM, the gut shot. His very first question to Gina Prince-Bythewood set the tone for an intense, hard-hitting interview. Excerpts: "Excuse me Gina, but girl come on, of all the black female authors whose books you could have chosen, you didn’t go with Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Tananrive Due, Jora Neale Hurston or even Zane, all recognizable names. You instead went with Roxane Gay’s 2014 novel, An "Untamed State". WHAT!… are you in a position to throw away money? Listen, not to take anything away from Ms. Gay, but it’s hard enough selling a "black’ story, but why complicate matters by choosing the work of an unknown? Look, Kathryn Stockett wrote "The Help"… all her fans rushed to see the movie. The same can be said about J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and comic book heroes, there was an audience already standing in line before the movies are annouced"… "But wait, you seem to have this thang against your movies being classified as a "black movie". So, who’s your target audience for this film starring a black woman, and adapted from a book written by an unknown black female writer? Well, guess what, you have a black film. You were offended by those who said your last film (2014’s "Beyond the Lights") was a "black" movie. Are we headed down that same road?"


As long as they put it in the right section of netflix.


Wonder if she’ll deemed this a non partisan[ie: black] film project?

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