Daniel Kaluuya to Star in ‘Queen & Slim,’ a Black ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ Story, at Universal

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From left: Lena Waithe, Daniel Kaluuya, Melina Matsoukas

The film, which will be helmed by Melina Matsoukas, is described as a ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ story that revolves around a black couple who end up killing a police officer in self-defense and go on the run.

After a heated bidding war, Brad Weston’s Makeready has closed a deal to finance Queen & Slim, a hot feature package with a script by Emmy winner Lena Waithe (Master of None) and to star Get Out breakout Daniel Kaluuya. The film is based on an idea and treatment from best-selling author James Frey (A Million Little PiecesKaterina) and story by Waithe and Frey.

The script is described as a Bonnie and Clyde story that centers on a black couple out on a first date whose night goes terribly awry. They end up killing a police officer in self-defense and, on the run, head to Cuba.

Melina Matsoukas, best known for helming HBO’s Insecure and Beyonce’s “Formation” music video, is set to make her feature directorial debut with the film.

Since his breakout performance in Jordan Peele’s Get Out (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), Kaluuya has become one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood. He also appeared in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, and will soon be seen in Steve McQueen’s Widows with Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez.

Kaluuya will play the titular Slim in the pic, while Matsoukas, Waithe and casting director Carmen Cuba are searching for a fresh face to play Queen.

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

“To me, this is protest art,” said Waithe. “It’s about being black and trying to fall in love in a world that’s burning down around you.”

Added Matsoukas: “It’s a film that defines black love as a revolutionary act. It shows that our union is the greatest weapon against the assault on black people in America.”

Queen & Slim, which is set to begin shooting in January, will be distributed by Universal worldwide, with eOne handling distribution in select territories including the U.K. and Canada. The film will be released in North America midweek on Nov. 27, 2019, on the eve of Thanksgiving weekend. This is the first film to be greenlighted under Makeready’s recently announced distribution deal with Universal. eOne is Makeready’s lead investor.

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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter – Rebecca Ford, Tatiana Siegel