In a statement provided to Deadline, Kaye said: “Djimon and I met just after I did ‘American History X.’ It was a cathartic meeting, and I knew immediately that he was an actor that I had to work with. The material had to be right, and thank God, now we have a project to work together on. The color cameras inside my head are ready to go to work in Africa.”
Hounsou added: “’African History Y’ could not have come at a better time as I explore bringing more extraordinary African stories to the world. I’m excited to be working with Tony, and it’s somewhat preordained that he and I have come full circle to work with each other.”
Charles Chanchori, Jason Corder, and Kaye are writing the film, while DeForrest Taylor, Marc Le Chat, Kaye, and Raymond J. Markovich serve as producers.
When IndieWire spoke to Kaye in 2016, Eric Kohn noted: “Studios may view him as a flustered and frustrating eccentric, but Kaye remains a rare breed — an outlaw artist working through one hurdle after another, beaten but not broken, and always ready to rise again. While virtually every American studio movie reflects some kind of compromise, truly unfiltered creative visions are rare. At a time when we could use more committed independents, we don’t hear from Kaye nearly enough.”
At the time, Kaye was working with Shia LaBeouf, and then Evan Ross, on a self-financed film, “Stranger Than the Wheel,” which was the story of a young man who struggles to reconnect with his estranged father. However, that project has not come to fruition.
A two-time Academy Award nominee for “In America” and “Blood Diamond,” Hounsou was most recently seen in 2019’s “Charlie’s Angels” update, and also stars in “A Quiet Place II,” which will now release in April of next year amid the pandemic. Hounsou also starred in “Shazam!,” “Captain Marvel,” “Serenity,” and lent his voice to “Aquaman.” He’ll also be seen in the upcoming “The King’s Man,” the third entry in the “Kingsman” film series.
Kaye has been nominated for six Grammy Awards as a music video director for artists including Soul Asylum, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Roger Waters, and Johnny Cash. In 1999, his explosive drama “American History X” earned Edward Norton a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his turn as a former neo-Nazi skinhead trying to stop his younger brother from following in his footsteps. He also directed the incendiary abortion documentary “Lake of Fire.”