Almost a year ago, I reported on Chiwetel Ejiofor's return to the stage this summer to play Congolese nationalist hero Patrice Lumumba, in poet and political activist Aimé Césaire's play A Season in the Congo, at the Young Vic in London. The new stage production was directed by Joe Wright, who helmed the films Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Hanna, and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.
Now the Young Vic has announced an expansive new plan in which they intend to make feature films based on previous stage productions, and the theater company currently has two films in development - one being a film version of Hennik Ibsen's A Doll's House, which is currently playing.
But the first one scheduled to go into production will be a film version of A Season in the Congo, to be shot in Kinshasa, with Ejiofor starring, and Wright directing.
Césaire's play tells the story of the 1960 Congo rebellion, and the assassination of the charismatic political leader.
Lumumba was the first prime minister of the newly independent Congo after its release from colonialist Belgian rule. However, his plans for the future of the country were considered too radical and threatening by some, and he was overthrown in a coup, and assassinated in 1961 in a CIA-backed plot.
Of course, many of you will remember that there was a film about the life of Lumumba directed by Raoul Peck, released in 2000.
Césaire was born in Martinique and educated in Paris. He founded the Martinique Independent Revolution Party as well as the literary and ideological movement known as Négritude (along with Léopold Sédar Senghor). He was well known for his intense personal opposition to Western imperialism and racism and was the subject of a 1994 documentary directed by Euzhan Palcy.
According to The Young Vic, a “spin-off” short film based on the play will be released in November as well.
h/t Candace Allen