Felicia D. Henderson Tapped to Adapt & Direct 'Flyy,' Based On The Omar Tyree 'Flyy Girl' Trilogy

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by Tambay A. Obenson
November 1, 2012 1:40 PM
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I remember Omar Tyree's announcement in late 2009, that he'd formed a production company to see his novels adapted to film, and TV, with Leslie, being the first novel to get screen treatment.

It's been about 3 years and it's not clear where exactly that project, or any others stand. I did trace activity back to December 2009, when he posted, on his Facebook page, that Leslie would go into production in 2010, and that 2010 would be a great year. 

My research shows that it never did happen. His IMDBPro page shows just 1 project (a 2007 video work).

But if I'm wrong about that, I'm sure I'll be corrected either in the comment section, or via email.

At the time, Tyree seemed thoroughly excited about the possibilities that his novels and those of other writers, presented, that Hollywood just wasn't, and still isn't exploring, and that he planned to essentially, take matters into his own hands, and make things happen. 

I should also note that, in the last 12 months, we've seen Tracey Edmonds of Edmonds Entertainment announce a multi-picture deal to develop the extensive library of novels by E. Lynn Harris into feature films; and also Jeff Clanagan of Codeblack Entertainment announcing a 7-picture deal with author MaryHoneyBMorrison.

So there's clearly a movement to get these best-selling novels adapted to screen; a lot still has to happen, like, most importantly, raising the money to finance production. So we continue to wait and watch to see what develops.

In the meantime, here's some related news I received today, via press release, which appears to be as close to a sure-thing as possible, given the names involved, and other info (by the way, in addition to Soul Food, Felicia D. Henderson is also previously served as co-exec producer of Fringe and Gossip Girl):

Felicia D. Henderson Tapped to Adapt and Direct 'Flyy,' Based on the Omar Tyree 'FLYY GIRL' Trilogy

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1, 2012 -- Global Renaissance Entertainment Group, Inc., an Arthur Wylie Enterprises company (www.ArthurWylie.com), announced today that it will celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the New York Times best-selling Flyy Girl novels by bringing the books to the big screen.

Felicia D. Henderson will write and direct the film adaptation of Omar Tyree's New York Times Best Selling Flyy Girl trilogy through her company, WaterWalk Productions.  Best known for developing Soul Food for Showtime, Henderson has written for film, television, and theater.  She's currently the executive producer of BET's Reed Between the Lines.

"I'm more than excited to make my feature film directing debut adapting the iconic Flyy Girl novels. Writing the screenplay, and knowing I'm directing the film has been creative joy!"  Henderson's other credits include, Everybody Hates ChrisGossip Girl, andFringe. She is also on the faculty at UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television where she teaches writing for film and television.

Omar Tyree's catalog of novels, which include Flyy Girl and two follow up novels, For the Love of Money and Boss Lady, have generated over $30 million worldwide for publishing giant Simon and Schuster.  For the Love of Money garnered an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work In Fiction. 

"This is a great day for Tyree's fans," says Arthur Wylie.  "They've been waiting for something like this.  Omar's fans are deeply attached to these characters and we can finally give them something they can't turn away from.  I'm thrilled to be working with Felicia to finally bring these characters to life, utilizing a multi-platform format that leverages the tremendous built-in audience." 

Wylie's producing partner, Dale Godboldo states, "In celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Flyy Girl, we decided to make the story contemporary, while pulling in some of the key elements from the characters' coming-of-age years, in order to stay true to the integrity of the book."

After acquiring the rights to Tyree's complete library of 20 novels, Wylie brought John Mazzarino (Co-founder and Managing Director of Cherokee Investment Partners - a $2 billion investment fund) on board as an advisor, to assist in financing and producing entertainment-related content for global distribution, while supporting charitable causes. Productions will be in Georgia and North Carolina under the management of Wylie Studios, an Arthur Wylie Enterprises company currently developing facilities for entertainment production and education. Flyy is the first project on the slate, which is scheduled to go into production at the end of the year.

"I'm excited by the opportunities ahead and look forward to collaborating with Arthur Wylie on his company's compelling entertainment related projects," said Mazzarino. "Under his management, we're confident that this will be a profitable endeavor for all parties involved."

Through the Arthur Wylie Foundation and Cherokee Gives Back (www.CherokeeGivesBack.org), Flyy will donate a portion of its profits to projects that encourage entrepreneurship and economic development in underserved communities. 

"Working with Mazzarino and his team has been an amazing experience, particularly given their commitment to bridging smart investments with philanthropic pursuits, which is an ideal that we both share," says Wylie, the venture's manager.

Henderson's deal was negotiated by Mark Stankevich of Stankevich-Gochman LLP. 

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5 Comments

  • Donella | November 2, 2012 4:57 PMReply

    I read Flyy Girl years ago. Reminded me a lot of the label-dropping queen bees at my school.

  • ALM | November 1, 2012 9:20 PMReply

    "Flyy Girl" is one of those novels that I purchased years ago, and it's still in my "to be read" pile. This is an incentive to actually pick the book up and finish it. I love the qualifications of the director. She's no joke if she worked on "Fringe".

  • Ghost | November 1, 2012 9:46 PM

    Comic book fans will take you task on that. She burned a lot of bridges with her Teen Titans run where she screwed up Static's name twice. However with this project-I've always thought of this as a mini series type book. Fly Girl alone could give you 40 episodes alone before you move on the the next book.

  • mantan | November 1, 2012 7:29 PMReply

    i guess this is a good thing, lol

  • MissWildfire | November 1, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    This is the kind of news I love to hear. I can't wait for updates on Pearl Cleage's novel-to-movie endeavors. For bookworms like me seeing books written by black people adapted into movies is a dream come true, especially since I am an aspiring writer. Keep paving the way Omar Tyree and company :)

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