Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris and Gugu Mbatha-Raw have been cast in Farming, the directorial debut from Nigerian-British writer-director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
The project is an autobiographical story based on Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Annenberg award-winning screenplay, which was developed at the Sundance Film Institute, and chronicles his own story growing up fostered by a white working-class family in the UK.
HanWay Films is handling international sales for the project and is launching it to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival later this month. WME Global is repping domestic rights.
Rising star Idris, who stars in John Singleton’s upcoming FX series Snowfall, will play the lead role of Enitan, a young Nigerian boy “farmed out” by his parents to a white British family in hopes of giving him a better future. Instead, he grows up to become the feared leader of a white skinhead gang in 1980s England. Beckinsale, meanwhile, plays his foster mother, a stern, hard-loving, and at times self-serving woman who takes huge pride in her foster children while unable to provide them with the emotional support they crave.
Throughout the 1960s and the 1980s, thousands of Nigerian children were farmed out to white working-class families in the UK and as they were in private foster care, many of them were never registered with social services, making them invisible to the authorities. Growing up in white communities across the country, these children slowly lost their cultural identity and many were never reunited with their parents.
Michael London (Trumbo, Sideways) and Janice Williams produce through Groundswell Productions with Francois Ivernel (The Queen, Slumdog Millionaire) through Montebello Productions as well as Charles de Rosen, Miranda Ballesteros and Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Production is scheduled to begin in August in the UK and Nigeria.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje is represented by APA and The Artists Partnership, Untitled Entertainment, and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Idris is represented by Identity Agency Group, WME, and Elevate Entertainment.
Beckinsale is represented by UTA, and Mbatha-Raw by Curtis Brown, CAA and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Idris, Beckinsale, and Mbatha-Raw are also represented by Hansen, Jacobson LLP.
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