Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield are set to star in Universal’s romantic drama The Photograph from writer-director Stella Meghie (The Weekend), Collider has confirmed. This is an exciting pairing on paper and I can’t wait to see the chemistry between these two stars on the big screen, where there has been a distinct lack of love stories featuring actors of color.
Don’t get me wrong, those stories are out there, thank God. But more often than not, they’re made independently, or by streaming services, and too few receive the backing that a major studio can bring in terms of production, marketing and publicity budgets. I’ve been waiting for someone to make The Notebook or The Vow for black audiences and this project, which hails from power-producer Will Packer, sounds like it could have the stuff.
According to the trades, the film centers on intertwining love stories in the past and present, but Collider has learned a bit more about the plot. Sources say Rae will play a museum curator who inherits her recently deceased mother’s love letters, which reveal a secret affair. Stanfield will play a reporter in possession of a fateful photograph, and as the two of them begin to connect the dots of this incredible lost love, they begin to fall for each other — all as a massive hurricane threatens the city.
Meghie (Everything, Everything) will direct from her own original screenplay and executive produce alongside Rae, the talented multi-hyphenate behind HBO’s Insecure. Packer will produce via his eponymous company along with James Lopez. Universal executives Sara Scott and Mika Pryce will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Universal is already in business with Rae, who stars opposite Regina Hall and Marsai Martin in the comedy Little, which hits theaters next month. She recently starred in Fox 2000’s drama The Hate U Give, and just wrapped the Paramount comedy The Lovebirds, which she also executive produced. She is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Stanfield is coming off of Boots Riley‘s critically acclaimed satire Sorry to Bother You, which turned a tidy profit for Annapurna last summer. He recently starred in The Girl in the Spider’s Web and will soon be seen opposite Gina Rodriguez in Netflix’s romantic comedy Someone Great. Stanfield has also wrapped Rian Johnson‘s murder mystery Knives Out and the Safdie brothers’ drama Uncut Gems with Adam Sandler. The Atlanta star is repped by Stark Management and CAA, which also reps Meghie.