The Shadow King: Kasi Lemmons Adapting Maaza Mengiste’s Historical Fiction Novel

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The Shadow King: Kasi Lemmons Adapting Maaza Mengiste's Historical Fiction Novel

The Shadow King: Kasi Lemmons Adapting Maaza Mengiste’s Historical Fiction Novel

Kasi Lemmons (Harriet, Eve’s Bayou) is adapting and directing The Shadow King, according to Deadline, a feature adaptation of Maaza Mengiste’s historical fiction novel about the Ethiopian women soldiers, left out of the historical record, who went to battle against Mussolini’s invading army in 1935 Ethiopia. Atlas Entertainment will produce the adaptation.

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The novel, published in September 2019 by W.W. Norton & Company, follows Aster, the wife of a commander in Haile Selassie’s overwhelmed army, and her household servant Hirut, who long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. Together they offer a plan to maintain morale among Ethiopians, eventually becoming warriors and inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians.

“Maaza Mengiste’s mesmerizing novel takes my breath away,” said Lemmons. “The imagery is so rich and powerful and the characters so vividly drawn, it naturally lends itself to adaptation. I’m very honored to be a part of bringing this brilliant book to the screen and I’m thrilled to be working with everyone at Atlas.”

“Kasi’s films are epic and intimate all at once. It makes her the perfect filmmaker to bring to life Maaza’s complex characters and compelling world captured in The Shadow King. We are thrilled to be working with her on such a special project,” said Charles Roven and Richard Suckle of Atlas Entertainment.

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Roven and Suckle will produce with Stephanie Haymes-Roven and Curt Kanemoto, who will oversee the project for Atlast Entertainment, executive producing.