After starring in Amma Asante's Austenesque romance Belle, Gugu Mbatha-Raw will next be seen as a troubled pop star in Gina Prince-Bythewood's Beyond the Lights.
At the Los Angeles Film Festival, Prince-Bythewood discussed being dead-sure that Mbatha-Raw should star in her movie about melancholy musicians -- so sure, in fact, that she decided to ditch deep-pocketed producers skeptical of her casting choice.
In the glossy dramatic romance, Mbatha-Raw will play Noni Jean, a biracial British pop star (her mother is played by Minnie Driver) who's so deeply uncomfortable with the teen-tart, sexualized image that's made her career thus far that she's considering jumping off the ledge in her hotel room. She takes the plunge, but she's rescued at the last possible micro-second by a studly police officer (Nate Parker) who seems to be the only person who really sees Noni as she really is.
Prince-Bythewood's last film was the civil-rights drama The Secret Life of Bees, which starred Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo.
Beyond the Lights will open November 14. (Sorry for the auto start. This is the only version we could find now.)
[via Shadow and Act]