Plan B, Harpo Films, and Kamilah Forbes will work on the film version of the book.

By Joey Nolfi
November 11, 2020 at 09:52 AM EST
Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt are uniting to bring a beloved novel to the big screen.

MGM announced Tuesday it will partner with the Oscar-winning actor's Plan B Entertainment, Winfrey's Harpo Films, and producer Kamilah Forbes to adapt Ta-Nehisi Coates' 2019 novel The Water Dancer into a movie.

Coates will write the screenplay for the film, with Forbes producing after developing and directing the writer's stage production Between the World and Me at the legendary Apollo Theater and Kennedy Center as well as the project's HBO special of the same name starring Susan Kelechi Watson.

The film follows Hiram Walker, a man born into bondage who, after losing his mother at a young age, harnesses a mysterious power as he recovers from a near-drowning incident in a story Winfrey previously chose as an official Oprah's Book Club selection.

"Ta-Nehisi’s debut fiction novel has at its heart a beautiful character in Hiram Walker, whose personal odyssey weaves the supernatural and spiritual, with the terrible reality of the forced separations endured by enslaved people and their families for centuries," MGM's film chair Michael De Luca and group president Pamela Abdy said in a press statement. "Hiram’s story is one of devotion to those he loves, and the journey he takes to bring them together. All of us at MGM are incredibly honored to join Ta-Nehisi, Kamilah, Plan B and Harpo Films in bringing this film to the screen."

Added Coates: "I’m honored to be working with Harpo, Plan B and my old friend Kamilah Forbes. We all believe that MGM is the best home for this adaptation and look forward to bringing it to life."

In the past, Plan B and Harpo Films collaborated on Ava DuVernay's Best Picture-nominated historical biopic Selma. Pitt's Plan B Entertainment — headed by the actor-producer and co-presidents Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner — has worked on several major Oscar contenders , including The Tree of Life, The Big Short, Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave, and If Beale Street Could Talk.

Further details — including a cast and release date — for The Water Dancer movie have yet to be announced.

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