EXCLUSIVE: In a bidding war that included a number of streamers and networks, FX has closed a deal for development of the six-episode limited series based on Blitz Bazawule’s upcoming debut novel The Scent of Burnt Flowers. Bazawule will write, direct and produce under his newly minted entity Inward Gaze, with Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II attached to star. Abdul-Mateen will also executive produce under his production shingle House Eleven10 alongside Macro Television Studios.
Charles D. King, Marta Fernandez and Ahmadou Seck will executive produce for Macro Television Studios, as will Gaby Mena and Natalia Williams of M88.
The book, set to publish June 28 via Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House, centers on Melvin and Bernadette, a Black couple fleeing persecution in 1960s America. They seek asylum in Ghana, where they meet charismatic Ghanaian musician Kwesi, who they lean on to preserve their freedom. Abdul-Mateen would play Kwesi in the series, which intertwines the dark chapters of history with a magical realist lens, elevating the story to an otherworldly experience.
Taraji P. Henson Joins Blitz Bazawule's Adaptation Of 'The Color Purple' As Shug Avery
The deal is a huge win for FX, which is not only getting Abdul-Mateen as he is red hot but also landing Bazawule as he has also seen his star rise in directing circles. Up next, Bazawule goes into production on his epic reimagination of the Warner Bros musical feature adaptation of the The Color Purple. Bazawule landed the job after his acclaimed work on Beyoncé’s visual album Black Is King for Disney+.
As for Abdul-Mateen, he next stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Universal’s Ambulance directed by Michael Bay, which releases wide April 8. Abdul-Mateen recently launched House Eleven10, a home for different narrative universes, illustrating both the magic and humanity within them including extraordinary stories about ordinary people. Its mission is to uplift talent from underrepresented communities.
Bazawule is repped by CAA, M88 and Granderson Des Rochers. Abdul-Mateen is repped by WME, M88 and Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.
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