After winning a massive bidding war for the film rights to Angela Thomas' The Hate U Give, Fox 2000 has enlisted Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg to lead the adaptation. Stenberg will be joined by Barbershop and The Longest Ride director George Tillman Jr. with an adapted screenplay by Audrey Wells, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The forthcoming book, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, centers on a 16-year-old prep school student named Starr (Stenberg). After witnessing a cop shoot her unarmed best friend, Starr is asked to tell her story in court. "I knew it was timely, but it’s such a sensitive topic," Thomas told Publishers Weeklylast month. “I was too scared to even send out queries.”
The story of The Hate U Give's journey from an idea to a book (and now to a movie) is a remarkable one. Last June, Angela Thomas hit literary agent Brooks Sherman up on Twitter to see if a Black Lives Matter-inspired YA book might catch the eyes of publishers. One year later, Thomas' book inspired two bidding wars in two separate industries. Just weeks ahead of news of Sternberg's casting in the film adaptation, The Hate U Give was the subject of what Publishers Weekly called a "heated auction" among 13 major publishers.
Though known to many as Rue from The Hunger Games, Stenberg made waves last year with the release of her Stranger Comics original NIOBE: She Is Life. "I connect to [Niobe's] mixed racial background and quest to discover her innate powers and strengths, to learn who she truly is," Stenberg told the Huffington Post when announcing the project. "She is on a path to a destiny that will test her faith and her will, something we can all relate to."