EXCLUSIVE: David and Jessica Oyelowo and their production company Yoruba Saxon have sealed an exclusive, first-look deal with MWM Studios to develop both film and television projects. Yoruba Saxon, founded in 2014, is the company behind such films as A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight Pathe), Captive (Paramount), Nightingale (HBO) and Five Nights in Main (Filmrise).
Oyelowo, of course, is the actor who won international kudos for his brilliant portrayal of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma and who is also an acclaimed stage actor, having played everything from King Henry VI at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London to his recent turn as Othello opposite Daniel Craig in the New York Theatre Workshop.
MWM Studios has had a great few years with its Emmy-nominated NatGeo series Genius with Imagine Television and its Academy Award nominated film Hell or High Water (with SKE). MWM was formerly known as OddLot Entertainment before the name change to Madison Wells Media. The company, founded by Gigi Pritzker in partnership with Clint Kisker, has positioned itself well as a filmmaker friendly venture to create storytelling across multiple platforms including immersive VR/AR, mobile gaming, digital content and live entertainment. The deal with Yoruba Saxon furthers that intent and mission.
“MWM Studios is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking film and television companies in entertainment, and we can’t think of better partners to create content with,” the Oyelowo’s said in a statement.
Through Yoruba Saxon, David and Jessica Oyelowo are also working on Cyrano the Moor with Moonlight Oscar-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney at Disney described as a musical mash up of two classic stories — Cyrano de Bergerac and Othello — set in the Bristol region of England during the 19th century. He and Angelina Jolie are also in talks to star in the fantasy drama Come Away, a Yorba Saxon film that will mark the live-action directorial debut of Brenda Chapman, the Oscar-winning director and co-writer of Pixar’s Brave.
In addition, they have the family, fantasy drama The Water Man as well as Sweet Thunder at Harpo Films. The latter is based on the book by Wil Haygood about Sugar Ray Robinson’s relationships with his wife, father and the mafia.
“David and Jessica are true multi-hypenates,” said MWM Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Rachel Shane and COO Adrian Alperovich (both run the division). “As accomplished artists and filmmakers, they both have a love of storytelling and an inherent passion and deep understanding of the world of entertainment. Yoruba Saxon and MWM Studios have a natural synergy and a shared vision, and we are thrilled to work together to create provacativve and inspired film and television content.”
Oyelowo’s other acting credits include the upcoming films Only You from Blumhouse, Paramount Pictures’ The Cloverfield Paradox and director Doug Limon’s Chaos Walking at Lionsgate. Amazon/STX’s Gringo alongside Charlize Theron and Joel Edgerton debuted this year.
He also joined Masterpiece and BBC One’s upcoming six-part event adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Misérables where he will play Javert. Others in the cast are Dominic West playing Jean Valjean, Lily Collins as Fantine, Adeel Akhtar as Monsieur and Olivia Colman as Madame Thénardier.
David Oyelowo is repped by CAA, Inphenate and UK based Hamilton-Hodell. Jessica Oyelowo is repped by Art2Perform. Both are repped by law firm Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham. CAA Media Finance brokered the deal with MWM Studios on behalf of Yoruba Saxon.