‘Queen & Slim’ Trailer Shows Lena Waithe’s ‘Protest Art’ Thriller Has ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ Ambitions

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith star as a couple on a first date that goes horribly wrong, in the directorial debut of Melina Matsoukas.
(from left) Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) and Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) in Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas.
"Queen & Slim"
Andre D. Wagner/Universal Pictures

From Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe and director Melina Matsoukas, comes the Makeready-backed buzzy new film, “Queen & Slim,” which stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith, in her first starring feature-film role.

Joining a legacy of films such as “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Thelma & Louise,” Waithe’s “Queen & Slim” is a dramatic thriller with romantic undertones that follows a black couple (Kaluuya and Turner-Smith) on a first date who are pulled over by a police officer, who they are then forced to kill in self-defense, and must go on the run.

The official synopsis reads: “While on a forgettable first date together in Ohio, a black man and a black woman are pulled over for a minor traffic infraction. The situation escalates, with sudden and tragic results, when the man kills the police officer in self-defense. Terrified and in fear for their lives, the man, a retail employee, and the woman, a criminal defense lawyer, are forced to go on the run. But the incident is captured on video and goes viral, and the couple unwittingly become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief and pain for people across the country.”

The film also stars Bokeem Woodbine, Chloe Sevigny, and Grammy-winning country singer Sturgill Simpson, who recently appeared in Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die” and the CBS All Access series “One Dollar.”

When Waithe presented the first footage of “Queen and Slim” at CinemaCon earlier this year, she called the Universal Pictures film “protest art.”

“It’s meant to get people talking,” she said. “The film is not made to give the audience answers, but instead to ask questions and show what it looks like to be black and in love while the world is burning all around you.”

Waithe wrote the script based on an original idea developed by she and bestselling author James Frey (“A Million Little Pieces,” “Katerina”). Meanwhile, the film marks the feature-film directorial debut for Melina Matsoukas, best known for her music videos including Beyoncé’s “Formation.”

Waithe is producing the film via her company, Hillman Grad Productions, along with Matsoukas and her De La Revolución Films. Frey is producing via 3BlackDot, alongside Andrew Coles and Michelle Knudsen.

The film’s first trailer premiered during the 2019 BET Awards in June. Universal has now released a second trailer which spotlights the love story between Queen and Slim, as Queen asks Slim towards the end, “Can I be your legacy?”

“Queen & Slim” opens wide on November 27. Check out the newest trailer below.

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