Universal to Adapt Percival Everett’s ‘James,’ Steven Spielberg to EP

Universal has acquired the film rights to Percival Everett latest novel “James,” with Taika Waititi in early talks to direct.

Published this past March by Doubleday, “James” reimagines Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from the perspective of Huck Finn’s runaway slave companion Jim.

In Everett’s reimagining, Jim, who goes by the name of James, is a wise and literate man who teaches other slaves to read, and who like other educated Black men and women keeps his knowledge a secret to avoid punishment from white slaveowners.

Steven Spielberg will serve as an executive producer on the film through Amblin Partners alongside Everett, who will adapt the screenplay.

Everett’s new project comes seven months after the release of “American Fiction,” an adaptation of his acclaimed 2001 novel “Erasure” about a struggling Black writer named Thelonious “Monk” Ellison who, in his bitterness, writes a novel intended as a satirical takedown of stereotypical Black characters and novels filled with crime and neglectful fathers. To his shock, the novel becomes a smash hit.

“American Fiction” was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won Best Adapted Screenplay for writer-director Cord Jefferson.

Everett is represented by CAA and the Melanie Jackson Agency. Waititi is represented by CAA, Manage-ment, Yorn, Levine, Barnes, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner, Endlich, Goodell & Gellman and ID PR. The deal was first reported by Variety.

The post Universal to Adapt Percival Everett’s ‘James,’ Steven Spielberg to EP appeared first on TheWrap.