Awkwafina to star in Legendary’s ‘The Last Adventure of Constance Verity’ and Disney Animation’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’

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Awkwafina. NBC photo

With her signing on to two high-profile projects in less a month, we’re seeing another phase in the rapidly morphing career of Awkwafina, the rapper who broke out as a comedic actor in last year’s blockbuster “Crazy Rich Asians” and is gaining early awards consideration for her finely nuanced lead turn in this year’s critically acclaimed drama “The Farewell.”

First, she inked a deal to star in “The Last Adventure of Constance Verity,” a film adaptation based on A. Lee Martinez’s fantasy adventure novel.

The project could be a potential franchise-starter for Awkwafina, according to Deadline. The follow-up novel, “Constance Verity Saves the World,” was released in July 2018, and Martinez is currently writing the third book.

Legendary snapped up the film rights to “The Last Adventure of Constance Verity” and is adapting it from a spec script by John Raffo. Here is the synopsis for the book, which was first published in 2016 by Saga Press:

Constance Verity has been saving the world since she was seven, and she’s sick of it. She sets off on one last adventure to reset her destiny and become the one thing she’s never been: ordinary.

Ever since she was granted a wish at birth by her fairy godmother, Constance Verity has become the world’s great adventurer. She is a master of martial arts, a keen detective, and possesses a collection of strange artifacts. Constance has spent the past twenty-eight years saving the world, and she’s tired of it. All she wants is to work in an office and date a nice, normal guy. And she’s figured a way out. The only problem is that saving the world is Constance’s destiny. She’s great at it, and there are forces at work to make sure she stays in the job.

Then again, it’s also her destiny to have a glorious death.

Producer Jon Shestack (“Air Force One,” “Dan in Real Life,” “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past”) is producing “The Last Adventure of Constance Verity.” According to Deadline, he brought the project to Raffo and attached Awkwafina. Jon Silk is overseeing production alongside Jay Ashenfelter on behalf of Legendary.

And Walt Disney Animation revealed Saturday the long-awaited next film on its slate: “Raya and the Last Dragon,” an original Southeast Asian-inspired animated feature that will star Awkwafina as Susi the Dragon and Cassie Steele as Raya. As EW reports, Disney Animation chief creative officer Jennifer Lee (“Frozen”) made the announcement Saturday at Disney’s biennial D23 Expo.

Produced by Osnat Shurer (“Moana”) and penned by Adele Lim (the aforementioned “Crazy Rich Asians”), “Raya and the Last Dragon” is being directed by Paul Briggs, who was the head of story on “Frozen” and “Big Hero 6,” and Dean Wellins, a story artist and the creator of the 2010 short film “Tick Tock Tale.”

The movie takes place in the fictional land of Kumandra, which Shurer described as “a reimagined earth inhabited by an ancient civilization that venerated the mythical dragons for their power and their wisdom.”

“It’s inspired by Southeast Asia, both in its themes of community and hope, and in its design,” he added.

Kumandra’s five clans form the Land of the Dragon, but the dragons are gone and Kumandra has since been invaded by what’s described as a “dark, sinister force.” Raya is the hero, a warrior who is determined to find the last dragon, which she believes has the power to save Kumandra.

These are just the projects announced for Awkwafina in the past couple weeks. As Deadline reports, she was already having a red-letter year: She was recently revealed as part of the cast of Disney’s Phase 4 Marvel film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and her other upcoming projects include Sony’s anticipated sequel “Jumanji: The Next Level”; Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the musical “The Prom” starring Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman;  the Tate Taylor-directed “Breaking News In Yuba County”; and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” live-action remake directed by Rob Marshall, in which she will play Scuttle to Halle Bailey’s Ariel.

To read my review of “The Farewell,” click here.



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