Nia DaCosta To Direct Adaptation Of Ta-Nehisi Coates Novel ‘The Water Dancer’ For MGM, Plan B, Harpo Films & Maceo-Lyn

Nia DaCosta
Eric Tanner

Nia DaCosta (Candyman) has been tapped to direct an adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2019 debut novel The Water Dancer for MGM, Plan B, Harpo Films and Maceo-Lyn.

Coates’ #1 New York Times bestseller follows Young Hiram Walker, who was born into bondage. As a child, he loses his mother and over time loses all memory of her. Now a young man, Hiram almost drowns when he crashes a carriage into a river, but is saved from the depths by a mysterious power he never realized he had and struggles to understand.

Oprah Winfrey named The Water Dancer as her first Oprah’s Book Club selection in partnership with Apple. It has also been named one of the best books of the year by such publications as Time, NPR, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Vanity Fair and Esquire. The title from Random House imprint One World has over a million copies in print. Coates is adapting it for the screen, with his company Maceo-Lyn set produce alongside Plan B and Winfrey’s Harpo Films.

DaCosta is an award-winning filmmaker whose debut feature Little Woods, starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James, was developed through the Sundance Institute, premiering to critical acclaim at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and securing a theatrical release via Neon. Her follow-up feature Candyman, for MGM, was released by Universal Pictures last August. DaCosta is currently in post-production on the Marvel pic The Marvels, starring Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris and Iman Vellani, which is set for a 2023 release.

The Water Dancer marks the second collaboration between Plan B and Coates, who are also in development on the feature Wrong Answer, based on Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker story of the same name. Coates is adapting the story for the screen, with Ryan Coogler directing, Michael B. Jordan starring, and Plan B producing alongside Proximity Media and New Regency Productions. Coates founded the production company Maceo-Lyn with his long-time friends and collaborators Kamilah Forbes and Kenyatta Matthews.

Additional Plan B projects set up at MGM, as part of their overall second-look feature film deal with the studio, include writer-director Sarah Polley’s adaptation of Miriam Toews’ bestselling novel Women Talking, which Plan B produced with Hear/Say productions for MGM’s Orion Pictures; writer-director Cory Finley’s adaptation of National Book Award winner M.T. Anderson’s novel Landscape With Invisible Hand, with producers Annapurna Pictures; an original film from writer-director Lee Isaac Chung; as well as feature adapations of bestselling author Chandler Baker’s The Husbands, with Kristen Wiig attached to star and produce, and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Taddeo’s Animal, which she will adapt for the screen, in her feature writing debut.

DaCosta is represented by CAA, Management 360, Casarotto Ramsay & Del Shaw Moonves.

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