What’s up next for Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o?  She’s starring in the Disney and ESPN produced, Mira Nair directed, biographical drama, Oueen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess and One Extraordinary Girl’s Dream of Becoming A Grandmaster.

Shot in South Africa and Uganda, it is the true story of chess prodigy Phiona Metusa, whose fighting spirit and aptitude for chess provide her with the opportunity to save her family and escape a life of poverty.  The screenplay was adapted by William Wheeler, from the Tim Crothers book.

Queen of KatweNewcomer Madina Nalwanga plays Phiona, while Lupita Nyong’o plays her hard working mother, who sells fruits and vegetables on the streets of Uganda to feed her family. David Oyelowo, best known for his role playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, plays the coach, who is determined to teach chess to young African children because of the competitive life skills it imparts.  When he comes in touch with Phiona’s potential, he takes on the additional task of teaching her how to read and write, furthering her chances of becoming a champion.

Queen of Katwe is a natural fit for director Mira Nair, famous for “never doing anything halfway, always doing it fully and completely”, and who believes every film is “a political act, it’s how you see the world”.  Mira was educated at New Delhi University and Harvard. Beginning her career as an actress, she quickly moved on to screenwriting and making documentary films.  Her first feature as a director, Salaam Bombay, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.  Subsequently, she has directed numerous films to high acclaim, including: Mississippi Masala, with Denzel Washington, Monsoon Wedding, and Kama Sutra.

Queen of Katwe arrives in theaters September 23, 2016.

See a glimpse of the first trailer here: https://youtu.be/z4l3-_yub5A


-Pamela Perry


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