NEW YORK (THR) -- Mos Def and Sophie Okonedo are in final negotiations to co-star in the indie period drama "Stringbean and Marcus," which was written and will be directed by first-time feature helmer Tanya Hamilton.
The film takes place in 1978 and focuses on the broken love affair between two former Black Panther members (Mos Def and Okonedo) and is told through the eyes of an adolescent girl. "It's not so much about the idea of race," Hamilton said. "I just wanted to show this world of ordinary people living under extraordinary circumstances, trying to outrun this past they all have."
Sean Costello, Jen Roskind and Samara Koffler will produce for RedBone Films. Shooting is scheduled to begin in July in Philadelphia. Mos Def and Okonedo, Costello said, have not yet signed, but "they've committed to the project." Contracts are not likely to be finalized until June, he added.
"Stringbean" was developed through the Sundance Writers and Directors Labs in 1999 and received a Pew Fellowship. It was the first screenplay to receive such a grant. Hamilton was honored at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1996 for her short film "The Killers," for which she also received a DGA Women's Award.
"Mos is one of my favorite actors; he's fantastic," Costello said. "Sophie has to play this character who's both closed off and being open to helping people yet not being an angry woman. That's what she did in 'Hotel Rwanda' as this maternal, yet emotionally conflicted woman." Okonedo, who received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for "Rwanda" last year, is repped by ICM and Julian House at Markham and Froggatt Ltd. Mos Def is repped by Emily Gerson-Saines of Brookside Artists Management.
-- Randee Dawn
Randee Dawn writes for The Hollywood Reporter.
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