Cynthia Erivo to Star in, Executive Produce Film Adaptation of Hit Play ‘Prima Facie’

Susanna White will direct the film, which was adapted by playwright Suzie Miller

Cynthia Erivo
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Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo will topline a film adaptation of the hit play “Prima Facie,” which she will also executive produce.

Participant and Bunya Productions are producing the film, in association with Erivo’s Edith’s Daughter. The film will be directed by BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Susanna White. Acclaimed playwright Suzie Miller, who wrote the award-winning stage play, adapted the screenplay. Bunya’s Greer Simpkin, David Jowsey and Jenny Cooney will produce the feature alongside Participant; Miller, Erivo, Solome Williams and Participant’s Jeff Skoll will executive produce.

Jodie Comer is currently starring in the Broadway production of “Prima Facie,” which follows Tessa, an ambitious and confident defense attorney from working class roots. A rising star in the high-powered London legal system, Tessa skillfully defends her clients, including those accused of sexual assault. But after she is raped by a colleague, she discovers that the law does not deliver justice along the boundaries of consent.

Erivo is currently filming the two-part adaptation of the Broadway musical “Wicked” in the role of Elphaba.

“I am thrilled to be joining Suzie, Susanna, Participant, Bunya and the rest of the team on this journey with ‘Prima Facie.’ Tessa’s experience sheds such vulnerable light on the complex conversations around consent and sexual abuse and the law that surrounds it, which is all too relatable for so many and timely for all,” said Erivo. “Jodie Comer’s powerhouse exploration of that struggle on Broadway is nothing short of beautiful and heart-wrenching. When I read this script I knew it was important work to do. I look forward to getting to know who Tessa is to me as ‘Prima Facie’ goes from stage to screen.”

Miller said, “I am thrilled to have the brilliant Cynthia Erivo join this incredible team; she is a highly talented and nuanced actor who will create a bold and dynamic Tessa for the screen. I am also excited to be working with such a talented and collaborative director in Susanna White, as well as Bunya Productions and Participant – these are two companies who are truly committed to telling great stories that have real world impact.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to take this project forward as it evolves into a new form on the screen and to further the conversation around consent,” added White. “Cynthia Erivo is a brave and bold actor and Suzie Miller such an important and intelligent voice. Bunya and Participant are really exciting partners in their long-standing commitment to telling stories that matter.”

“Cynthia Erivo is such a gifted talent, and we are privileged to work with her, Bunya and the filmmaking team on this urgently engaging film,” added Participant CEO David Linde. “I had the fortune of seeing Prima Facie in London and was absolutely blown away by Suzie’s work, and I’ve known Susanna long enough to know that I cannot wait for this story to be reinvented for the screen through her lens.”

Bunya’s Greer Simpkin stated, “From the moment we saw Prima Facie on stage in Sydney, we knew that Suzie Miller’s extraordinary writing would make a compelling film. We are so thrilled to be able to take this story to the screen, not only with the incredible Cynthia Erivo and Suzie adapting her own work, but collaborating with brilliant director Susanna White and Participant, a company renowned for not just telling incredible stories, but using art to create impact and change in our world.”

“Prima Facie” first opened in Australia in 2020 and is in the process of opening globally in over 25 countries. The play was recently nominated for four Tony Awards, won the 2023 Olivier Awards for Best New Play and Best Actress, and previously won three categories at the Australian Writers Guild Awards, including the highest honors.