By Joe Cunningham | The Playlist July 30, 2012 at 1:23PM
You don’t hear of many British-Nigerian co-productions, but judging by the talent involved in the one that’s currently making its way to screens then we’d argue the two filmmaking nations should join forces more often. The British Film Institute and a Nigerian private equity firm have combined to bring the bestselling (and Orange Prize for Fiction-winning) novel “Half of a Yellow Sun” to the screen and assembled a pretty impressive cast in doing so. Dominic Cooper, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Game of Thrones” star Joseph Mawle and “Attack the Block” breakout actor John Boyega are all involved, and they even snagged themselves a Disney Princess in the form of Anika Noni Rose (“The Princess and the Frog”).
The story plays out to the backdrop of the 1967-1970 Nigerian-Biafran war, in which the south of Nigeria tried to establish Biafra as an independent republic. Newton and Rose will play a pair of wealthy Nigerian twins, one of whom (Newton’s Olanna) shocks her family by leaving to shack up with a revolutionary professor (Ejiofor) and his houseboy Ugqu (Boyega), while the other falls for a British ex-pat writer (Mawle). We originally thought Cooper would be taking that role, but there’s still no confirmation on what his role will be.
The film has been shooting since March in locations in the U.K. and Nigeria, and we’ve now got our first look at the film. It’s a shot that depicts the lighter side of the film – and that’s probably a better way to entice audiences rather than kicking off with images of the “chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world” – and shows Newton and Ejiofor dancing and celebrating, presumably at their wedding. It is a nice pic to kick off with and it will encourage anyone that’s hoping for a beautifully shot look at Nigeria when the film’s released in 2013. [Shadow & Act]