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Aunjanue L. Ellis to Star in ‘The Nickel Boys’ Adaptation; RaMell Ross to Direct for MGM, Plan B



Oscar nominee Aunjanue L. Ellis (King Richard) is set to star in The Nickel Boysan adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s novel of the same name, to be directed by RaMell Ross.

The Nickel Boys is set in Jim Crow-era Florida and focuses on two boys unjustly sentenced to a brutal reform school. MGM’s Orion Pictures, Plan B Entertainment and Anonymous Content will produce the movie adaptation, which will also star Ethan Herisse, Brandon Wilson, Hamish Linklater and Fred Hechinger.

Oscar nominee Joslyn Barnes of Louverture Films, who will pen the screenplay for the movie version along with Ross, is also set to produce, while Whitehead will executive produce.

“It is an honor to be working with such talented people and trusted with such an incredibly written story, with historical roots. I’m constantly impressed by the passion and creativity of the collection of people moving this project forward,” director Ross said in a statement.

Ellis gave an Academy Award-nominated turn as Serena and Venus Williams’ mother, Oracene Price, in last year’s biopic. King Richard. Her upcoming projects include the new film version of The Color Purple, The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat and The Deliverance. Ellis is a two-time Emmy Award nominee for her portrayal of Sharone Salaam When They See Usand for her role in Lovecraft Country.

Herisse portrayed Yusef Salaam in the Emmy-nominated When They See Us with additional credits for Chicago Med, Big Time Rush and About a Boy. Wilson’s previous credits include Gavin O’Connor’s The Way Back and Murmur from director Mark Polish.

Linklater, known as an actor, writer and director, most recently appeared in the Apple TV+ limited series manhunt, Angelyne and the Watergate anthology Gaslit. Hechinger recently wrapped production on hell of a summer and will also appear in the upcoming The Pale Blue Eye and Butcher’s Crossing.

Director Ross’s documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening was nominated for an Oscar and an Emmy, and earned a special jury award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, his second Pulitzer after a win for The Underground Railroadthe 2016 Civil War-era novel.

The Nickel Boys The adaptation marks Plan B Entertainment’s second collaboration with Whitehead after the limited series adaptation of The Underground Railroad for Amazon Prime Video.

Ellis is repped by UTA and TMT Entertainment Group. Herrise is repped by Clear Talent Group and Stagecoach Entertainment. Wilson is repped by A3 Artists Agency and Seven Summits Pictures & Management.

Linklater is repped by CAA and Untitled Entertainment. Hechinger is repped by A3 Artists Agency and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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