Filmmaker Amma Asante, who directed last year’s underrated costume drama Belle, has lined up an exciting follow-up project. THR reports that she has come aboard to direct the racial drama A United Kingdom, which has Selma actor David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in negotiations to star, and a script written by Guy Hibbert (Complicit).
The film tells the true story of Seretse Khama, a member of the royal family of a former English colony and south African nation called Bechuanaland, which eventually became Botswana with Khama as its first president. Preceding this development, however, Khama was embroiled in controversy when he married a white woman in 1949. His uncle attempted to depose him, and he ended up being banned from his home country South Africa in 1951 due to its illegal stance on interracial marriage.
Oyelowo is also producing the project, and Asante makes an exciting addition to the team. Belle was only her second film, but she showed a promising adeptness as a director, handling that film’s subject matter—the mixed-race adopted daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral being raised by her great uncle in 18th century England—with ease. One imagines she’ll bring that same skill to the table with A United Kingdom.
Pathe International is financing the pic, which hopes to begin production in October.