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Film rights bought for Marlon James’ book

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Film rights bought for Marlon James' book

The movie rights to Marlon James’ new novel, Black Leopard, Red Wolf, have been snapped up by Outlier Productions the company owned by actor Michael B Jordan and entertainment giant Warner Brothers. This is the second novel by the Jamaican author to be snapped up by film producers. His celebrated work A Brief History of Seven Killings, which won the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2015, was optioned for a film by HBO , however that is yet to materialise.

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James calls Black Leopard, Red Wolf , “an African Game of Thrones ,” and the book has been favourably reviewed with The Star Tribune calling it a “standard bearer for future fantasy novels”, while The Washington Post said it was “spectacular”, BookForum described it as “brilliant and bold,” and the New York Times dubbing it “Gripping, action-packed….The literary equivalent of a Marvel Comics universe.”

Based in African mythology, the story follows Tracker, who has a keen sense of smell. He’s hired to find a missing child against a backdrop of competing kingdoms and violent political upheaval. The story touts a wild cast of characters including a witch, a shape-shifting leopard, a murderous hyena, and conjoined twins.

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Jordan, who starred in the hit movies Black Panther, Creed and Creed 2 , formed Outlier Society in 2016 with a focus on bringing diverse stories and voices to the market. His own breakout performance came in the 2013 indie drama Fruitvale Station — the début of director Ryan Coogler —playing the victim of a police shooting.

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James will remain an executive producer on the project.

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“I think in the West we’re a little too obsessed with the idea that a story told must be truth,” he said in a media interview. “Whereas in African storytelling, a lot of African storytelling, you already know that the trickster is telling you the story… I have no duty to tell it true or not. It’s your job to judge if I’m lying or not,” he added

“It would be interesting to see how [the novel] would be adapted, because I still think our cinematic language of sci-fi and fantasy is still very European — particularly fantasy, and my book is not even remotely European,” said James.

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