Camila Cabello Takes Next Step in Acting Career in Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Sundance Film 'Rob Peace'

The film stars Jay Will as the late Robert Peace, a Yale grad whose dual life of academia and weed sales inspired his roommate to write a book about him.

the 'rob peace' cast at an audible event
Image via Getty/John Salangsang/Variety
the 'rob peace' cast at an audible event

Camila Cabello is taking the acting side of her multi-hyphenate career to new heights with her turn in Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Rob Peace, the film adaption of Jeff Hobbs’ biography The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace that’s premiering at Sundance on Monday.

In the film, Cabello plays Peace’s sometimes girlfriend Naya. The role of Peace, meanwhile, is taken on by Jay Will, whose previous credits include Tulsa King and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. For those unfamiliar, the real-life Peace, who was fatally shot at the age of 30 in his hometown of Newark in 2011, is remembered as a "brilliant student" who studied biochemistry and biophysics at Yale.

Hobbs, a former roommate of Peace's while at Yale, earned acclaim with his 2015 novel, which the main cast of Rob Peace pointed to as integral in their respective research processes. Ejiofor, who also stars as Peace's incarcerated father in the film, pointed to the importance of empathy when bringing this story to the big screen, particularly when dealing with the realities of the Yale grad's dual life of academia and weed sales.

A still from Rob Peace by Chiwetel Ejiofor, an official selection of the Premieres Program at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival

"The story’s very specific to Rob but it has a very universal quality," the director, who previously helmed The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind in 2019, said during a stop at the Variety Interview Studio presented by Audible on Sunday. "There’s so many people with different aspects of this journey."


CamilaCabello, #ChiwetelEjiofor and #JayWill dropped by the Variety Studio at #Sundance to promote their film "Rob Peace"

♬ THINK LATER x BAD GIRLS by Adamusic - Adam Wright

For Cabello, Rob Peace marks her first live-action performance since 2021’s Cinderella. Speaking at Variety and Audible’s panel, she too emphasized the “quality of empathy” she and her collaborators tapped into for the film.

“For me, I think it’s getting back to that quality of empathy. I think finding, and as Jay was saying too, the ‘you’ in a particular situation where hopefully you find in the process that you’re not acting, you’re really just finding the reality in a situation,” Cabello, also rumored to have new music with Playboi Carti on the way, said. “You’re just being honest.”

Rob Peace, written and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor, also stars Mary J. Blige, Michael Kelly, and Mare Winningham. Look for additional coverage from Complex on the film, as well as on a selection of Sundance 2024 highlights, later this month.

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