Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Focus Features' James Schamus Talks Steve McQueen's Fela Kuti Biopic

The Playlist By Simon Dang | The Playlist December 2, 2010 at 2:25AM

Acclaimed Nigerian Author Chris Abani Now Writing The ScriptWith English helmer Steve McQueen set to begin lensing early next year on the sex addiction drama "Shame" featuring the promising trio of Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale, we simply assumed that the project would be trumping the director's planned biopic on afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist Fela Kuti, based on Michael Veal's book "Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon."
1

Acclaimed Nigerian Author Chris Abani Now Writing The Script



With English helmer Steve McQueen set to begin lensing early next year on the sex addiction drama "Shame" featuring the promising trio of Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan and James Badge Dale, we simply assumed that the project would be trumping the director's planned biopic on afrobeat pioneer and human rights activist Fela Kuti, based on Michael Veal's book "Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon."

Speaking with the NY Times though, Focus Features CEO James Schamus has revealed it was in fact budgetary concerns that hindered the development of the Kuti biopic but, at the same time, asserted that the project as still very much in the studio's plans.

Focus is apparently eyeing a African shoot for the story -- doing exteriors in Nigeria itself or Ghana and interiors possibly in South Africa -- with Schamus revealing that "it’s not a biopic. It’s experimental in form [reportedly with long movements based on Fela’s lengthy songs]. I don’t do passion projects, but this could be a ‘Battle of Algiers’ [Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film based on the Algerian War] on that level.” Nice.

The piece also reports that while McQueen was originally co-writing the script with U.K. based Nigerian writer Biyi Bandele, a new writer is now seemingly on board with Nigerian author and poet Chris Abani now writing as Schamus "tried to make the budget work." Unfortunately, there's no update on the involvement of English actor Chiwetel Ejiofor but we presume he's still attached to star as the colorful Kuti -- we can't imagine anyone else in the role.

A pioneer in the afrobeat genre -- a mix of traditional African music, jazz and funk-- and a strong voice in political and human rights activism, Kuti also discovered the Black Power movement while studying in London and frequently aggravated the ruling Nigerian regime, culminating in an attack on his commune in 1977, during which Kuti's mother was thrown from a window and killed. He was married frequently, with up to 27 wives at one time, and eventually died of an AIDS related illness in 1997.

This ain't no Dewey Cox story that's for sure. Fingers crossed Schamus can smooth things out for the project but at least it sounds like it's something he's passionate about which bodes well for McQueen, Abani and Ejiofor.

This article is related to: Actors, Musicians, Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Fela Kuti


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates