2022 Oscar nominee Will Smith (King Richard) and two-time Emmy nominee David Oyelowo (The Girl Before) have come aboard Netflix’s film adaptation of Tọlá Okogwu’s upcoming book Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun as producers, Deadline has confirmed.
Onyeka is the first in a series of children’s books from the author, journalist and hair care educator, which is set to be published in the U.S. and UK by Simon & Schuster in June. It tells the story of a teenager who learns she has powers, subsequently traveling to Nigeria to learn more about her origins. There, she discovers a threat to her newfound magical community.
Ola Shokunbi (Satellite, Indigo, the upcoming A Yellow Heaven) is handling the screenplay adaptation. Smith and Co-President of Film Jon Mone will produce for Westbrook Studios, with Oyelowo for Yoruba Saxon. Westbrook Studios’ Heather Washington is exec producing alongside Yoruba Saxon’s Jessica Oyelowo.
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith founded Westbrook, Inc. and its subsidiary Westbrook Studios with Miguel Melendez and and Ko Yada back in 2019. The company most recently produced Warner Bros.’ Oscar-nominated drama King Richard, and Peacock’s Fresh Prince revival Bel-Air. Other upcoming projects include Antoine Fuqua’s Apple thriller Emancipation, in which Will Smith stars, the sports drama Redd Zone, led by Jada Pinkett Smith, and Summertime, a hip-hop musical based on Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s song of the same name, which Peter Saji will write and direct for Sony Pictures’ Screen Gems, in his feature debut.
David and Jessica Oyelowo founded Yoruba Saxon in 2014. The company has thus far produced David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut The Water Man, Searchlight and Pathé’s A United Kingdom, Paramount’s Captive, HBO’s Nightingale and Filmrise’s Five Nights in Maine.
Smith is represented by CAA and Overbrook Entertainment; Oyelowo by CAA, Hamilton Hodell in the UK, and Del Shaw Moonves; Shokunbi by CAA and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole; and Okogwu by CAA and Claire Wilson of RCW Literary Agency.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.