Kasi Lemmons Tapped To Direct Film Adaptation Of South African Tome 'Agaat'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
October 26, 2012 5:01 PM
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Another Kasi Lemmons project that we can only hope will eventually (sooner than later) see the light of day.

IndieWire sister site Thompson On Hollywood is reporting that Lemmons has been tapped to helm a film adaptation of South African author Marlene van Niekerk's acclaimed 2004 novel Agaat (The Way of the Women is the title of the English language-translated novel).

One of Oprah Winfrey's O magazine's "10 Books to Pick Up" in the August 2010 issue, Agaat's synopsis, courtesy of Good Reads follows:

Set in apartheid South Africa, Agaat portrays the unique relationship between Milla, a 67-year-old white woman, and her black maidservant turned caretaker, Agaat. Through flashbacks and diary entries, the reader learns about Milla's past. Life for white farmers in 1950s South Africa was full of promise — young and newly married, Milla raised a son and created her own farm out of a swathe of Cape mountainside. Forty years later her family has fallen apart, the country she knew is on the brink of huge change, and all she has left are memories and her proud, contrary, yet affectionate guardian. With haunting, lyrical prose, Marlene Van Niekerk creates a story of love and family loyalty.

Reviews of the novel abound, with just about all of them giving it an "A" grade; a death-bed chamber piece that spans decades. Indeed it's a 700-page tome. 

TOH says that the rights to the book have been optioned by producers Patrick Holzen, Mark R. Harris and Debbie Vandermeulen, a trio that would eventually tap Lemmons to direct.

"It took a long deliberation to find the perfect person and I can’t imagine the project with anyone else now. [Lemmons'] previous projects have dealt with themes of social change, empowerment and love, which are our themes as well. Kasi is a formidable talent with a unique perspective that was essential to adapting this masterpiece," said Holzen.

Anyone happen to take Oprah's advice in 2010 and read it? If so, we'd certainly love to read your thoughts. My to-read stack is already a mile high, so this won't be one I'll be getting to anytime soon. 

As we already know, Fox Searchlight put Lemmons' musical Black Nativity, on hiatus just weeks before it was scheduled to begin production in early October.

The project, which initially had Samuel L. Jackson's interest, was having difficulty signing an actor to play its male lead.

And first announced last spring, Lemmons is/was also set to adapt and direct On Beauty, based on Zadie Smith's Booker Prize-nominated novel of the same name. 

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1 Comment

  • Nikyatu | October 29, 2012 1:05 PMReply

    I get warm fuzzies when I hear this formidable filmmaker is moving forward on projects. So crazy how difficult it is for black women filmmakers to be/stay prolific. Love Kasi Lemmons!

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