EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has optioned rights to the title story in Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s New York Times bestseller Friday Black. A collection of short stories from Mariner Books, Friday Black explores the inhumanity, injustice and a hope that persists in black American life, often with a surrealist eye.
Adjei-Brenyah will adapt the script for the film and executive produce, while Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch will produce alongside his producing partner Kelly McCormick. No director has been set.
“Friday Black” is the seventh story in the book and is set on Black Friday in a dystopian near future. The protagonist, a department store salesman, copes with vicious, insatiable Black Friday shoppers while attempting to win a sales contest among employees, in order to give the prize jacket to his mother as a gift. The New York Times described the short story as “a not-so-subtle critique of consumerism run amok. But like all effective satire, there’s a glint of truth and accumulation of mundane details that make the farcical scenario feel plausible.”
Friday Black is the first book from Adjei-Brenyah, and was one of last year’s National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” award recipients. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer’s Row, Gravel and The Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the second annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest.
Leitch has directed Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde and co-directed John Wick, which total nearly $1 billion at the global box office. McCormick served as EP on Deadpool 2 and the upcoming Hobbs & Shaw (opening August 2) and served as producer on Atomic Blonde.
Adjei-Brenyah is represented by CAA and DeFiore and Co. for publishing and law firm Gendler & Kelly. Leitch and McCormick are repped by WME and attorney Tara Kole.