EXCLUSIVE: The bestselling book White Like Herauthor Gail Lukasik’s personal exploration about her mother’s decision to hide her African American heritage and pass for white, has been optioned by FGW Productions (Who Killed Tupac?)White Like Her will be adapted as a dramatic TV series.

Steven S. Williams

The book, published last year by Skyhorse Publishing, was inspired by Lukasik’s appearance on PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow. Vowed to secrecy until her mother’s death, Lukasik revealed on national television to 1.5 million people that her mother passed for white. Within 24 hours of her appearance, the family she never knew she had, found her.

Set against the historical backdrop of the Jim Crow South, the book chronicles Lukasik’s journey to uncover the truth of her mother’s racial heritage and to understand her mother’s decision to pass for white. The project will be produced by Stephanie Frederic and Susan Banks in association with Tricia Woodgett of TigerEye Films and Datari Turner of Datari Turner Productions.

Lukasik is best known for penning the Leigh Girard mystery books, which include Destroying Angels, Death’s Door and Peak Season for Murder.

The book “tells the story of my mother’s passing for white, how she hid her racial secret from my white father and how I discovered her secret which led to my finding our ‘lost’ relatives,” said Lukasik in a statement to Deadline. “With the rise of racist incidents in America, this narrative is especially relevant, as it brings to light the hidden history of racial mixing as seen through my family’s story. This story is truly a modern-day twist of the extraordinary film Imitation of Life and that film is one of my favorites. Fun fact: Gail and I are cousins. I’m thrilled that she’s entrusting my creative partners to tell her mother’s story which is also my family’s story.”

Stephanie Frederic and FGW Productions’ Who Killed Tupac? was a six-part A&E docuseries that focused on the investigation 20 years after the death of the prolific rapper and actor Tupac Shakur. Frederic is currently producing a doc series with George and Simona Papadopoulos. Other credits include Light Girls (OWN) and Eyes on the Prize: Then and Now (PBS).

Frederic is repped by ICM Partners. Lukasik is repped by Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Turner is repped by CAA.