Oscar-winning actress and newly anointed “Star Wars” cast member Lupita Nyong’o is set to star in and produce an adaptation of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah.”
Nyong’o is partnering with Plan B, the production company of her “12 Years a Slave” co-star Brad Pitt, along with D2 Productions and Potboiler Productions, the filmmakers announced Thursday.
Part love story and part social critique, “Americanah” tells of two young Nigerians, Ifemelu and Obinze, whose romance spans continents, visas, phone cards and breakups. The novel won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction and appeared on numerous top-10 lists last year.
“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to bring Ms. Adichie’s brilliant book to the screen,” Nyong’o said in a statement. “Page after page I was struck by Ifemelu and Obinze’s stories, whose experiences as African immigrants are so specific and also so imminently relatable. It is a thrilling challenge to tell a truly international story so full of love, humor and heart.”
Born in Mexico City to Kenyan parents, raised in Nairobi and trained at the Yale School of Drama, Nyong’o, 31, has skyrocketed to fame in the past year. She won a supporting-actress Oscar for her debut role in “12 Years a Slave” and also emerged as a style icon thanks to faultless red-carpet looks.
In April, she graced the cover of People as the magazine’s most beautiful person, and earlier this week she joined the cast of “Star Wars: Episode VII,” which could vault her to a new level of mainstream recognition.
Behind the camera, Nyong’o also directed, edited and produced the 2009 documentary “In My Genes,” about the treatment of Kenya’s albino population.