Based on Isabel Wilkerson’s critically acclaimed nonfiction book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, DuVernay’s adaptation will employ a multiple-story structure to explore the “unspoken system that has shaped America and chronicles how our lives today are defined by a hierarchy of human divisions dating back generations,” according to a press release.
On Instagram, DuVernay wrote, "An honor. Thank you for your work, @isabelwilkerson. Thank you for introducing me to this gem, @oprah. Thank you, @tendo, for giving this project wings. May it soar and bring light."
After Wilkerson published her 500-page Caste in 2020, it became a New York Times best-seller and an Oprah’s Book Club selection. The Pulitzer Prize-winner also penned 2011's essential The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration.
DuVernay will produce Caste with Array Filmworks’ Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes. She will also be reunited with Netflix executive Tendo Nagenda, who previously worked with her on Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time.
Caste follows DuVernay’s success with Netflix's 13th and When They See Us. Named after the 13th amendment, the 2016 documentary centers on America’s history of racial injustice and mass incarceration. It won DuVernay a number of awards and accolades, including becoming the first Black woman director nominated for an Academy Award. Her 2019 miniseries When They See Us tells the story of the “Exonerated Five,” and led her to receive 16 Emmy nominations.
DuVernay is also currently producing the Netflix series Colin in Black & White, based on the life of Colin Kaepernick.