Focus Features CEO Talks Steve McQueen’s Fela Kuti Biopic

With his next film, Shame, seeming to finally get rolling, Focus Features CEO James Schamus is finally opening up about Steve McQueen’s long talked about take on the life of afrobeat and overall musical icon, Fela Kuti.

The film, based on the Michael Veal novel, Fela: The Life And Times Of An African Musical Icon, was delayed shortly after being announced, and Schamus, in speaking to the NY Times, revealed that it was indeed budget problems that held that film back. That said, the film is still looking to get made, and is still high on the list of films that Focus Features is hoping to get made.   They will likely be shooting the film in Africa, and it is ‘not a biopic.   It’s experimental in form. I don’t do passion projects, but this could be a Battle Of Algiers on that level.’ That’s music to my ears.

Finally, the report also reveals that McQueen was originally going to write the script with writer Biyi Bandele, but apparently that’s changed, with poet Chris Abani now coming aboard.

Last we heard, Chiwetel Ejiofor was set to take on the titular role, and while that may not be the case anymore, I have the utmost faith in both Focus, and this film’s director, McQueen.   Shame is continuing to look like an absolute winner, and with McQueen at the helm of this ‘experimental’ take on Kuti’s life, this film is easily one of the most interesting and compelling projects coming down the line.

What do you think?

Source: NY Times

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