Deadline has learned Janelle Monáe will play Josephine Baker in the upcoming TV series De La Resistance.
The series, which will be based on the upcoming Damien Lewis book Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy, is said to focus on Baker’s accomplishments as an entertainer, which include being the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture in the 1927 silent film Siren Of The Tropics. The year prior, her popularity catapulted when she performed a dance known as the danse sauvage in nothing but pearl necklaces and a short skirt of bananas during the musical La Revue Nègre.
It will also reportedly explore her role as a spy for the French Intelligence during World War II. Baker managed to gather intel on the Axis powers through her reputation as an entertainer. She later contributed as a civil rights activist in the United States.
The series is being produced by Monáe’s production house Wondaland and A24.
This will not be Monáe’s first time portraying a historical figure. The multi-hyphenate starred as NASA’s first Black female engineer Mary Jackson in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Monáe most recently published a book titled The Memory Librarian, which served as a collection of stories from their 2018 album Dirty Computer.
The Memory Librarian appeared on the New York Times best sellers list last week. Monáe will also appear in Rian Johnson’s long-awaited follow-up to Knives Out, which is slated to be released on Netflix later this year.
De La Resistance is reportedly involved in a bidding war between multiple streaming services.