Thomasin McKenzie to lead Joy Womack biopic Joika
New Zealand actress Thomasin McKenzie has enjoyed a meteoric rise in her career following her breakout role in the 2018 drama Leave No Trace and she has found her next project in a biopic focused on Joy Womack entitled Joika, in which she will star as the American ballet dancer, according to Deadline.
The film, written and directed by James Napier Robertson (The Dark Horse), will chronicle the life of Womack, the second-only American to graduate from Moscow’s infamous Bolshoi Ballet Academy, and her intense training that pushed her limits of dedication, determination and sacrifice and how the passion of first love encouraged her. Womack, now 26 years old, would go on to become the principal dancer with the Universal Ballet in Korea followed by a return to America, where she currently dances with the Boston Ballet.
Joika, titled after the name Womack was given in Russia, will be produced by Robertson and producing partner Tom Hern alongside Anonymous Content’s Paul Green, Paul Munoz Vega and Laurie Ross, with Luke Rivett and Embarkment Films attached as executive producers.
“We are delighted New Zealand is leading the way back to set during these challenging and extraordinary new times – and are even more pleased that Joika will be part of this first wave of greenlit films, post-crisis,” Hern said in a statement.
Embankment is currently handling worldwide sales as the film is being presented to the Cannes virtual market that is currently underway, with plans to begin production in New Zealand in 2021, with the country having recently begun re-opening after the global health crisis.
“Joika is about unearthing and encouraging talent, and the sacrifices made to fulfill dreams,” Tim Haslam, Embankment co-director and co-founder, said in a statement. “Put into Thomasin’s inspirational shoes, audience’s will experience every step of her journey to perfection.“