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Brit Amma Asante To Helm Slavery-Set Pic On Life Of Mixed-Race Woman Titled "Belle"

by Tambay A. Obenson
December 7, 2011 2:30 PM
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British actor/writer/director/producer Amma Asante (above) is all set to direct a period drama about the trials and tribulations of a mixed-race girl titled Belle, from a script which she co-wrote.

The story takes place in the 1780s, and follows a mixed-race girl, adopted into an aristocratic family, who faces class and color prejudices (sounds... uh... tragic). As she blossoms into a young woman, she develops a relationship with a vicar's son who is an advocate for slave emancipation.

I'm guessing this will be set in Britain.

The project which is budgeted at £6.5 million ($10.1 million), is scheduled to begin production net summer.

This will be Amma Asante's second feature; her feature debut was a 2004 "gritty" and "compelling" South Wales-set racism drama titled A Way Of Life, which she also wrote. And for her work on that film, she was blessed with the BAFTA's (the british equivalent of the OscarsCarl Foreman Award for best debut by a British filmmaker, as well as being named The Times Breakthrough Artist Of The Year.

I haven't seen her feature film debut, so I have no comment. I'll hunt for it, though I can say immediately that it's not on Netflix; you'll likely find a non-US region copy on Amazon.

I couldn't find much else on Belle, other than what's above.

But now that I'm aware of Ms Asante (I wasn't before today), given all the accolades her past work has received (including others I didn't mention here) I'll most certainly be watching her career closely from here on. Hopefully I can get my hands on her previous work both in front and behind the camera.

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  • AllPeople (AP) Gifts [] | December 16, 2011 8:06 PMReply

    Listed below are links to information on the topic
    of the history of 'Race'; 'Mixed-Race', 'Interracial
    Marriages / Relationships'' etc. found in the U.S.:

  • leelee | December 10, 2011 12:06 AMReply

    Wow, I wonder if this film is loosely based on the life of Dido Elizabeth Lindsey? I've been curious about her for the longest time and always hoped her story would make it to the big screen one day. I'm excited!

  • Alltherage | December 7, 2011 11:47 PMReply

    I am so very wary of mixed race heroine slavery era dramas... darn tragic mulattoes.

  • Jmac | December 10, 2011 12:49 AM

    Damn, I was confusing Queen with the Sally Hemings TV movie. They slightly lightened the actress's face in that too, I think. Just remembered Diahann Carroll played the mother.

  • JMac | December 10, 2011 12:28 AM

    Either way, HB looked ridiculous and usually "mixed race slave" usually = very light skinned black. I hope she doesn't go the way of Zoe Kravitz/Thandie Newton/etc... and chooses someone who is more medium toned so the color issues are more prominent. At least that would make this type of film a little different and not so "comfortable."

  • Akimbo | December 9, 2011 10:54 AM

    As far as I can tell, Asante is directing, not starring. And with "Queen," Halle was playing a character who passed for white, so making her lighter was a necessity.

  • Jmac | December 8, 2011 10:09 PM

    I hope they don't "lighten" her skin but probably will. If they did it for Halle.... Why is it always mixed race female slaves - as if there wouldn't be as much drama if they weren't. Or is it another example of white people feeling left out of the story so they need to soften the blow.

  • Akimbo | December 8, 2011 1:46 PM

    I am, too. I get that there's inherent drama in the premise- they're born of two worlds, neither of which accepts them fully- but I do feel this is the narrative we hear most when it comes to slavery.

  • Kia | December 7, 2011 3:56 PMReply

    A Way of Life is on Netflix, but the year is listed as 2006--they got it wrong. Think I'd rather see A Way of Life--that sounds intriguing.

  • E Forde | December 7, 2011 3:26 PMReply

    So good to hear.

    I thought we'd lost her after such a long break from her debut. She was first Black Briton to win a film BAFTA.

  • urbanauteur | December 7, 2011 3:15 PMReply

    Very interesting...:)

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