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Disney sets Lupita Nyong'o's The Queen of Katwe for September

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Edward Echwalu

Lupita Nyong’o began the year by making her Broadway debut and comically demonstrating her ability to fold a fitted sheet, and now Walt Disney Studios has given an official release date for The Queen of Katwe, which features the actress’ first live-action role since winning an Oscar for her performance in 2013’s 12 Years a Slave.

Disney currently slates The Queen of Katwe for an awards-friendly Sept. 23 limited release, with an expansion planned for the following weekend. The film is based on a book of the same name (adapted from an ESPN the Magazine feature) by Tim Crothers.

The Queen of Katwe tells the story of a young girl, Phiona Mutesi, who rises from the slums of Kampala, Uganda, to achieve the title of Woman Candidate Master at the 40th Chess Olympiad in 2012. Nyong’o will play Mutesi’s mother in the film, which was directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Hysterical Blindness) and costars David Oyelowo and Madina Nalwanga.

“This is a story about the commitment to a dream even in the most discouraging of situations. The slum of Katwe is a very difficult place to live, but you see these people living there with dignity and making it day by day,” Nyong’o told the 2015 D23 Expo audience about shooting on location in Uganda. “…To go there and to have that environment to work from really did sober us and enliven us.”

Nyong’o recently lent her voice to characters in both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Disney’s upcoming version of The Jungle Book, the latter of which is set to hit theaters April 15.

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