The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind adaptation starts principal photography
by Kaleem Aftab
- 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor steps behind the camera for his untitled debut feature film, adapting William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer's book for the big screen
BAFTA Award-winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave [+see also:
interview: Michael Fassbender
film profile]) is set to be the director, screenwriter and star of an adaptation of the African-set biography The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind [+see also:
film profile], written by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. Ejiofor plays Trywell, the father of a 13-year-old boy, William Kamkwamba (newcomer Maxwell Simba), who builds a windmill using spare parts from a bicycle, scrap metal and wood from the blue gum tree. The windmill saves his village from famine.
In addition to Ejiofor and Simba, the cast features Lily Banda as William's older sister, Annie; Noma Dumezweni (Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) as Edith Sikelo, the librarian who helped bring William's story to public attention; Aissa Maiga (Anything for Alice [+see also:
film profile]) as William's mother, Agnes; Joseph Marcell (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) as Chief Wimbe; and Lemogang Tsipa (Eye in the Sky [+see also:
film profile]) as teacher Mike Kachigunda.
Ejiofor previously directed the short films Slapper (2008) and Columbite Tantalite (2013). His first feature film is shooting in Malawi. Ejiofor said: “William's story represents what has to be the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty, and with potential which simply needs access to opportunity in order to be fully unleashed.”
Potboiler Productions' Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland [+see also:
film profile]) and Gail Egan (A Most Wanted Man [+see also:
film profile]) are producing the film. Participant's Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King will executive-produce with BBC Films' Joe Oppenheimer, the BFI's Natascha Wharton, and authors Kamkwamba and Mealer.
Participant Media, BBC Films and the BFI, with funds from the National Lottery, are lead financiers on the project, along with Head Gear, Econet and LipSync. Participant will be handling the sale of the North American distribution rights, while Cornerstone Films will oversee international sales and distribution in all other territories. Econet will handle sub-Saharan African distribution.
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