Viola Davis is set to star in “The Personal History of Rachel Dupree.” Deadline, who broke the news, says Davis was already on board to produce.
“House of Cards” and “Moonlight” actor Mahershala Ali stars as well. Additionally, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis will also co-star. Claire McCarthy, who has “Ophelia” in pre-production, will direct and adapt the screenplay.
Ann Weisgarber’s novel of the same name serves as the basis for the film. The book’s synopsis is the following:
Praised by Alice Walker and many other bestselling writers, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree is an award-winning debut novel with incredible heart about life on the prairie as it’s rarely been seen. Reminiscent of The Color Purple, as well as the frontier novels of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Willa Cather, it opens a window on the little-known history of African American homesteaders and gives voice to an extraordinary heroine who embodies the spirit that built America.
Davis has several upcoming big-hitters, including “Fences,” which is a screen adaptation of the eponymous play by August Wilson. The film has been a huge potential awards contender since news of its Dec. 25 release date broke. Davis stars with Denzel Washington who directed and produced the film.
Davis and Washington won Tony Awards for their performances in the 2010 revival of the play. The 2010 revival also won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The original version first debuted in 1983.
Davis also has the untitled Harriet Tubman project in the works. There is no director yet, but Kirk Ellis is penning the screenplay.
“The Personal History of Rachel Dupree” will go into production sometime next year.