EXCLUSIVE: The Underground Railroad star Thuso Mbedu is to create a suite of shows for Paramount+ outside the U.S. after striking a first-look deal with VIS Social Impact division.
The fast-rising South African actress will create, develop and produce scripted and doc programmes focused on equity, climate and health for the cause-driven production division of Paramount Global’s production arm.
Mbedu played the lead in Barry Jenkins’ Amazon series The Underground Railroad and will soon be seen appearing opposite Viola Davis and John Boyega in Sony’s film The Woman King.
Her deal represents an inaugural first-look agreement for VIS Social Impact, whose boss Georgia Arnold exec’d the drama series MTV Shuga: Down South, in which the International Emmy-nominated Mbedu starred in 2019.
Arnold, who is also Senior Vice President of International Social Responsibility at Paramount, said: “Having been privileged to work with Thuso on MTV Shuga: Down South, I’ve seen her powerful creative talent first-hand; I’m in no doubt that her skill and expertise will help our studio develop ground-breaking social impact-driven content with worldwide appeal.”
Mbedu said: “As Africans we have so many unique and diverse cultures, histories and experiences that the world needs to see and hear about and, as an African woman, to get an opportunity to tell stories that will uplift, empower and shape new ways of thinking and seeing the world, is absolutely amazing.”
Mbedu won an Independent Spirit Award, Gotham Award and Hollywood Critics Association Award for her role as Cora in The Underground Railroad, a role that made her the first South African leading woman of a U.S. series.
VIS Social Impact launched in October 2021 as part of Paramount’s ‘Content for Change’ initiative that aims to counteract racism, stereotypes and hate on- and off-screen. Among its key pillars is systematically transforming film and TV’s creative supply chain through deals such as the Mbedu agreement.
Mbedu is represented by WME and Creative Partners Group.
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