Universal Pictures today announced that the studio has entered into a first-look production agreement with Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Pictures, the film division of her multimedia company Wondaland.
Alongside its creative in-house team of executives including CEO Monáe, Managing Partner Mikael Moore, Creative Director Chuck Lightning and Executive Producer Nate Wonder, Wondaland and Universal Pictures will develop multi-genre content with an emphasis on championing underrepresented voices and groundbreaking perspectives.
The deal further strengthens the collaborative relationship between Monáe and Universal: She stars in Universal’s upcoming Robert Zemeckis-directed movie Welcome to Marwen, opening Dec. 21, and Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet due out next year.
“There is an exciting, artistic revolution taking place in our industry, and Janelle and the talented team at Wondaland are at the forefront,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. “Their forward-thinking, inclusive approach to content and storytelling make them a perfect fit for our studio.”
Monáe is a six-time Grammy nominee who has made her mark in the R&B space with her retro-futuristic sound, taking off in 2007 with her conceptual EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). Her latest album, released in April, Dirty Computer peaked at the No. 6 spot on the Billboard 200. She voiced the character of Dr. Monáe in the animated sequel Rio 2, followed by key roles in the Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight and the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures which made $236M at the global box office. She also wrote and performed two tracks on the Hidden Figures soundtrack, “Isn’t This the World” and “Jalapeño”, the latter with Pharrell Williams. Monáe will also be voicing characters in STX’s upcoming May 2019 animated release UglyDolls and Peg in Disney’s live-action take on its animated classic Lady and the Tramp.
Wondaland was represented in the deal by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.