Netflix has landed a high-profile buddy movie directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o. The project was born as an internet meme in April, when a photo of Rihanna and Nyong’o in the front row of a Miu Miu fashion show went viral. A Twitter user captioned the snapshot writing, “Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and Lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the scans,” prompting calls to turn the imagined narrative into a fully realized movie.
Users on the social media network also requested that Ava DuVernay sign on as director, and Insecure creator and star Issa Rae pen the script. All four women subsequently expressed interest in moving forward with the film.
EW reports Netflix nabbed the project following a competitive negotiation session at the Cannes Film Festival, where the streaming giant beat out multiple bidders. DuVernay has been confirmed to direct; Rae is in talks to write the screenplay. It’s not clear yet how faithful Rae plans to stay to the initial concept, but according to EW‘s sources, she is already working on the script and the studio is eyeing a production start of 2018, after DuVernay completes work on her next feature directorial effort, A Wrinkle In Time.
Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the scans https://t.co/PhWs1xd3nj— WHOOPHERASSKOURTNI (@1800SADGAL) April 18, 2017
The move is a major get for Netflix, which has been steadily ramping up its original film profile in recent years. Both political fantasy Okja and Noah Baumbach family drama The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), debuted to warm receptions at Cannes. But the company’s newest addition could arguably be their biggest. All four women involved boast substantial star power.
Ava DuVernay has become one of the most celebrated directors in recent memory for her work on titles like Selma, 13th (also for Netflix), and Queen Sugar, which rolls out its second season on June 20. Nyong’o won an Oscar for her breakout performance in 2013’s 12 Years A Slave and went on to score roles as Maz Kanata in the Star Wars franchise and Nakia in the impending Black Panther. Rihanna has recently shifted from music to screen with roles in Bates Motel, the upcoming Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and next year’s Ocean’s Eight. And Rae has fast become a rising name for Insecure. The Netflix flick has already built ample buzz online, and with these women attached, it seems like a surefire hit.