It’s a good week for Selma director Ava DuVernay. Sure, she had to opt-out of helming Black Panther, for reasons I assume are tied directly to creative control, but she’s clearly been working on tremendously personal projects in lieu of entering the pantheon of Marvel directors. Yesterday, we learned that her new documentary, The 13th, will be opening this year’s New York Film Festival, the first time any documentary has opened the esteemed festival, and today, we’ve got our first look at Queen Sugar, her adaptation of Natalie Biszele‘s beloved novel of the same name as a television series set in Louisiana.
The first trailer for the series, which will air on OWN and is produced by Oprah Winfrey, can be found below and the first thing that one will notice is Rutina Wesley, the breakout star of True Blood who similarly proved to be a crucial addition to the Hannibal cast in Season 3, playing the lover of the killer known as The Tooth Fairy. Wesley is one of the most distinct and forceful actresses to find a voice on television, and she seems to be backed by a strong ensemble under DuVernay’s direction. The rest of the cast includes Kofi Siriboe, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Tina Lifford, and the great Omar J. Dorsey, but what’s most exciting about Queen Sugar is the visuals that are teased in the trailer footage, the same kind of atmospheric yet grounded view of everyday struggles and political discontent that powered Selma and the director’s undervalued Middle of Nowhere. The Fall TV schedule just got a lot more interesting.
Here’s the first trailer for Queen Sugar:
Here’s the synopsis of the book via Amazon:
Readers, booksellers, and critics alike are embracing Queen Sugar and cheering for its heroine, Charley Bordelon, an African American woman and single mother struggling to build a new life amid the complexities of the contemporary South.
When Charley unexpectedly inherits eight hundred acres of sugarcane land, she and her eleven-year-old daughter say goodbye to smoggy Los Angeles and head to Louisiana. She soon learns, however, that cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley struggles to balance the overwhelming challenges of a farm in decline with the demands of family and the startling desires of her own heart.