By Joey Nolfi
April 16, 2020 at 04:10 PM EDT

Kasi Lemmons is bringing The Shadow King into the light.

For her next big-screen project, the Harriet and Self-Made helmer will write and direct an adaptation of Maaza Mengiste's 2019 novel, a historical fiction piece set during Benito Mussolini's 1935 invasion of Ethiopia.

Lemmons' film will focus on Ethiopia's female soldiers, who are often left out of the historical record. The story centers on Aster, the wife of a commander in Haile Selassie's army, and her servant Hirut, who strive to serve their country beyond caring for wounded soldiers and burying the dead. Together, they set out to boost morale among their fellow citizens and ultimately become warriors who inspire other women to take up arms against the Italians.

Atlas Entertainment announced Lemmons' involvement in the project Thursday, further confirming that Oscar-nominated American Hustle producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle will produce the film alongside executive producers Stephanie Haymes-Roven (Wonder Woman) and Curt Kanemoto (Man of Steel).

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; W. W. Norton & Company

"Maaza Mengiste's mesmerizing novel takes my breath away," Lemmons said in a statement. "The imagery is so rich and powerful and the characters so vividly drawn, it naturally lends itself to adaptation. I'm very honored to be a part of bringing this brilliant book to the screen and I'm thrilled to be working with everyone at Atlas."

A release date and casting details for the Shadow King film have yet to be announced.

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