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Kasi Lemmons Set To Helm "On Beauty" Based On Zadie Smith Novel

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act March 27, 2012 at 6:56PM

Some exciting news for fans of Lemmons and author Zadie Smith!
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kasi lemmons

Some exciting news for fans of Lemmons and author Zadie Smith!

Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou, Talk To Me) is set to adapt and direct On Beauty, based on Zadie Smith's Booker Prize-nominated novel by the same name. 

We last posted about Lemmons plans to adapt Langston Hughes' gospel song play adaptation Black Nativity in June of last year. It looks like she's still on track for developing that Fox Searchlight project.

On Beauty will be a co-production between Carol Polakoff (a journalist with a slate of novels to produce including Waiting For Bardot, Secret Sky, American Prometheus), Ruby Films and Film4.

Zadie Smith's novel centers on the dynamics of two distinct families with their own set of values, beliefs, races and sexual politics, and how their lives are intertwined.

Here's the description of the book (via amazon):

Howard Belsey, a Rembrandt scholar who doesn't like Rembrandt, is an Englishman abroad and a long-suffering professor at Wellington, a liberal New England arts college. He has been married for thirty years to Kiki, an American woman who no longer resembles the sexy activist she once was. Their three children passionately pursue their own paths: Levi quests after authentic blackness, Zora believes that intellectuals can redeem everybody, and Jerome struggles to be a believer in a family of strict atheists. Faced with the oppressive enthusiasms of his children, Howard feels that the first two acts of his life are over and he has no clear plans for the finale. Or the encore.

Then Jerome, Howard's older son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps, and the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register. An infidelity, a death, and a legacy set in motion a chain of events that sees all parties forced to examine the unarticulated assumptions which underpin their lives. How do you choose the work on which to spend your life? Why do you love the people you love? Do you really believe what you claim to? And what is the beautiful thing, and how far will you go to get it?

This book is on my must-read-right-now list. :-)

More details from Deadline:

The book is an academic comedy of manners, focusing on the story of two families with different but increasingly intertwined lives, race and sexual politics. It’s been called a modern day Howard’s End, which was an inspiration for the author. Alison Owen and Paul Trijbits of Ruby Films are producing with Carol Polakoff.

Polakoff, who came up the ranks as a journalist, is financing the development of her projects through a consortium of US and European-based private investors.

Who has read the book? Thoughts on cast?

This article is related to: Kasi Lemmons, Book To Film


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