Disney adapting Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi’s YA novel ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ into feature film

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Tomi Adeyemi

Disney is planning to move ahead with adapting “Children of Blood and Bone,” the bestselling young-adult novel by Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi, into an action-fantasy film.

According to Deadline, the adaptation originated as a Fox 2000 property, and writer Kay Oyegun (“This Is Us”) is wheeling a deal to pen a new script adaptation of the epic fantasy with Rick Famuyiwa, who is still attached to direct.

Here is the synopsis of Adeyemi’s widely praised debut novel, which drew on her West African heritage:

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The first of Adeyemi’s “Legacy of Orïsha” series, “Children of Blood and Bone” was published last year by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. The sequel, “Children of Virtue and Vengeance,” is due out in December.

Per Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr., the film version is regaining momentum under the Fox/Disney label led by Emma Watts, who stayed on to build up the label. Although the deal is still in the works, Fleming reports that the adaptation has captured the imagination of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. It could be the first feature property produced by Lucasfilm since the Disney acquisition that isn’t part of the venerable “Star Wars” or “Indiana Jones” franchises.

Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, and John Fischer were the original producers, along with Sunswept Entertainment’s Karen Rosenfelt and Famuyiwa and his VERSE banner. According to Deadline, they will continue to be involved, but it sounds like Lucasfilm will be leading the charge on the project.

Oyegun continues working on the hit NBC series “This is Us,” but she has made some promising moves into feature films: As previously reported, her spec script “Assisted Living,” was the subject of a bidding battler back in the spring that was won by Paramount Pictures. The script, which also had Sony, Endeavor Content and Netflix vying for it, was being likened to “Sister Act” meets “Mrs. Doubtfire,” with the tale of a thief on the run from her old crew who holes up in a retirement home.



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