Angie Thomas/Twitter
Nick Romano
September 12, 2017 AT 11:36 AM EDT

Meet the Carters, the family at the center of Angie Thomas’ searing and topical YA novel, The Hate U Give. The story, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, is coming to life on the big screen as the first photos of the assembled cast emerge at the start of production in Atlanta.

“No lie – I got teary-eyed when I saw this,” Thomas tweeted.

Shooting began Tuesday with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) playing the lead role of Starr, a 16-year-old girl who’s from a low-income neighborhood but attends an elite prep school in the suburbs, only to be torn between two worlds when she witnesses her unarmed friend shot to death by a police officer. “We’ve been in [the] process of the film adaptation of The Hate U Give for over a year now and the first day of filming is TOMORROW,” Stenberg wrote on Instagram Monday. “I’m so endlessly grateful for Angie’s blessing & her continuous love and support.”

Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall play Starr’s parents, while Lamar Johnson plays her brother, Seven. Fox 2000 also announced new additions Anthony Mackie as local drug dealer King and Kian Lawley as Starr’s boyfriend, Chris. They join Algee Smith, Common, Issa Rae, and Sabrina Carpenter in the film, directed by George Tillman Jr. (The Longest Ride).

“You’ve got this. I support you 1000 percent,” Thomas tweeted of Stenberg, who’s seen embracing her fellow cast mates in the photos.

Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun) penned the script, while Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey’s Temple Hill and Tillman’s State Street are on board to produce.

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