In recent years, Disney has found success in more than just the Marvel superhero and Star Wars spheres. In 2016, the animated family film Moana found critical and box office success in its focus on Pacific Islanders and Ancient Polynesian culture with the title princess heroine at its center. Then, earlier this very year believe it or not, Marvel’s Black Panther did the unprecedented by centering the bulk of the superhero flick in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, featuring an overwhelmingly Black cast and key crew members. Now, the company’s looking to combine those successes with an all-new live-action fairytale picture that centers on an African princess who lends her name to the title, Sadé.
As Deadline reports, Disney is developing the original project with Dope director Rick Famuyiwa attached to produce. Ola Shokunbi and Lindsey Reed Palmer‘s pitch was picked up by the studio and they’ll now co-write the screenplay about a young African girl who finds her kingdom under threat by a mysterious evil force. When she comes to accept her newly discovered magical powers–and the help of the kingdom’s prince during a wild adventure–she’ll find she has what she needs to protect her people. That’s a pretty straightforward logline for a Disney movie, but the African slant adds a whole new wrinkle to the picture.
Shokunbi and Reed Palmer are newcomers to the Hollywood scene as far as we can tell, so their pitch must have been really something for Disney to pick it up. Their previous collaboration was the 2017 romantic comedy short Break, but that’s about the only filmography entry at the moment. That’s quite the jump to selling a big-screen, live-action pitch to what’s increasingly becoming one of the only games in town.
No director has been set just yet, but the addition of Famuyiwa to the picture, even in a producer role, is an interesting one as well. Currently, his only directorial project would be Son of Shaolin, which has no logline nor release date at the moment. So it’s conceivable that, if Sadé shapes up over the next year or so, Famuyiwa could find himself in the director’s chair once more.
Scott Falconer will serve as executive producer. Tendo Nagenda and Zoe Kent are overseeing the project for the studio.