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Lupita Nyong’o to Star in, Produce African Love Story ‘Americanah’

The film is based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Who said Lupita Nyong’o would struggle in Hollywood after winning an Oscar for “12 Years a Slave?” Just days after being cast in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” Nyong’o has signed on to star in and produce an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel “Americanah,” it was announced Thursday.

Nyong’o, along with D2 Productions, Brad Pitt‘s company Plan B and Potboiler Productions, has secured the rights to develop the book into a feature film.

“Americanah” is the epic love story of Ifemelu and Obinze, young Nigerians whose romance spans continents, visas, phone cards and breakups. The film explores the cruelties and the humor of both the modern immigrant experience and the difficulty of finding your way home.

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The acclaimed novel was the winner of the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was selected as one of the “Ten Best Books of the Year” by the New York Times Book Review, the BBC, and Newsday.

“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to bring Ms. Adichie’s brilliant book to the screen. Page after page I was struck by Ifemelu and Obinze’s stories, whose experiences as African immigrants are so specific and also so imminently relatable. It is a thrilling challenge to tell a truly international story so full of love, humor and heart,” said Nyong’o.

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Trained at the Yale School of Drama, Nyong’o made her feature debut in Steve McQueen‘s Oscar-winning drama “12 Years a Slave,” which was produced by Plan B. This summer she begins production on J.J. Abrams‘ “Star Wars: Episode VII” and she’ll also lend her voice to Jon Favreau‘s “The Jungle Book.” Nyong’o is also a filmmaker, having served as the creator, director, editor and producer of the award-winning feature-length documentary “In My Genes,” about the treatment of Kenya’s albino population. She’s represented by D2 Management, CAA and Del Shaw.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the MacArthur Fellowship-winning author of the novels “Americanah,” “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half of a Yellow Sun,” the film adaptation of which is currently playing in select U.S. theaters.

Andrea Calderwood of Potboiler Productions has produced “The Last King of Scotland,” HBO’s “Generation Kill” and “Half of a Yellow Sun.”