Cynthia Erivo lands next lead role in movie about African princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta

Hannah Lovejoy
·2-min read
Photo credit: Leon Bennett - Getty Images
Photo credit: Leon Bennett - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Cynthia Erivo is a rising star – she already has Emmy, Tony and Grammy wins and also has Academy Award, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, all at just 33 years of age.

The Chaos Walking star is now set to play the leading role and produce a film based on the life of 19th century African princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

The film will be produced under Erivo's company Edith's Daughter along with Solome Williams, SunnyMarch's Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland, and Rienkje Attoh from So & So Productions. Benedict Cumberbatch is also set to executive produce the project.

Photo credit: Aaron J. Thornton - Getty Images
Photo credit: Aaron J. Thornton - Getty Images

The film development is being financed by BBC Film, and Walter Dean Myers' biography At Her Majesty's Request has been optioned as source material.

The project is all about Omoba Aina who is an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people – she was orphaned and enslaved by a king in West Africa before being given to Queen Victoria in 1850. She was taken to England and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

Being under the Queen's patronage put Sarah at the heart of British aristocracy. Being a strong, educated Black woman during this moment of history left Sarah to deal with a great deal of inequality – she was faced with both public and personal trouble.

Photo credit: Leon Bennett - Getty Images
Photo credit: Leon Bennett - Getty Images

Erivo said (via Variety) that she's excited to embark on the journey of playing Sarah Forbes Bonetta.

"It has taken a long time to get to a point where we can even begin to realise this dream. As a Nigerian British woman, to get the opportunity to tell the story of another Nigerian British woman who until now has been erased from the history books, is an honour," she said.

"Ms. Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Omoba Aina, is truly a passion of mine and I’m so pleased to have been able to find partners in the incredible women, Leah Clarke and Rienkje Attoh, to tell the story and finally give her a voice. I cannot wait to dive into her story. She is indeed the forgotten princess, forgotten no more."

There is currently no release date for this project.

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