“Army Of The Dead: Lost Vegas” and “American Gods” star Yetide Badaki has been cast as the lead in “Queen Nzinga,” an African-warrior-queen drama from 50 Cent and Steven S. DeKnight in the works at Starz, the pay TV channel said Thursday.
Per Starz, “The remarkable true story of Nzinga, warrior queen, takes place in 17th century Angola. This is the legendary tale of Nzinga’s transformation from an innocent princess into a fearless warrior queen who rages a ferocious 40-year guerrilla war against the kingdom’s formidable enemies, and the cruel subjugation of her people by Portuguese slavers. Nzinga would come to sacrifice everything to defend her people’s dignity, liberty and freedom. On seizing the crown, Nzinga, the first-ever female ruler, decreed – ‘Call me king.'”
The description continues: “Thrust into a kingdom ravaged by slavery, ferocious tribal wars and ruthless male power struggles, Nzinga’s journey is thwart with danger at every turn. She faces a brutal family blood-bath, ferocious battles intertwined with deceptive truces, hair-raising escapes, and depraved enemies. With every part of her that she sheds or is stolen from her, she moves one step closer to realizing her dream of freedom and peace for her people.”
“Queen Nzinga” will be executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson through his G-Unit Film & Television, alongside Mo Abudu who will executive produce through EbonyLife Media. Additional executive producers include DeKnight (“Spartacus,” “Daredevil”) and Badaki.
A search for the in-development series’ showrunner is currently underway, per Starz.
The project hails from Lionsgate Television and will be overseen by executive vice president of original programming Karen Bailey on behalf of Starz.
“As G-Unit Film & Television launches more premium, international productions, I couldn’t have found better partners than Mo, Yetide and Steven to help tell the incredible story of Queen Nzinga,” 50 Cent said.
“It has been a long held dream of mine to bring the story of Nzinga to the screen. Her courage, determination and passion resonated from the moment I laid eyes on historical depictions of the legendary queen,” Badaki added. “I am thrilled by Starz’ continued commitment to much needed stories about and by historically excluded voices and the deeply talented team being built to share this epic narrative with the world.”
Abudu said: “The continent of Africa has a treasure trove of stories that are yet to be told. ‘Queen Nzingha’ is a story that I have wanted to tell for a long time, so when EbonyLife Studios finally found a home for this project at Starz and Lionsgate, it was a dream come true. We are happy to be at the forefront of forging these new partnerships with such an incredible team of creatives, because it is truly about sharing our local stories with a global audience – stories that are historical, authentic and progressive.”