Amandla Stenberg, George Tillman Jr. Team Up for #BlackLivesMatter-Inspired Novel 'The Hate U Give'
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Amandla Stenberg, George Tillman Jr. Team Up for #BlackLivesMatter-Inspired Novel 'The Hate U Give'

hateugive_10-10snap20th Century Fox is certainly loading up on “black film” projects, as maybe its various film subsidiaries are attempting to catch up to Fox TV’s lineup in terms of stories centered around the lives of black characters.

As Fox Searchlight’s develops the Gina Prince-Bythewood/Gugu Mbatha-Raw adaptation of Roxane Gay’s 2014 novel, “An Untamed State,” another 20th Century Fox subsidiary, Fox 2000, won a bidding war for Angela Thomas’ debut novel ‘The Hate U Give,’ and has signed up George Tillman Jr. to direct, and Amandla Stenberg to star.

The novel is inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which Publisher’s Weekly says was at the center of a heated auction among 13 publishing houses, including all of the Big Five, earlier this year. It eventually went to Donna Bray of HarperCollins’ Balzer + Bray in what PW says was a six-figure deal for the young author.

What a way for any aspiring author to launch a career; first, a bidding war over the rights to publish your novel, and then, a month later, a bidding war for the rights to turn your novel into a film!

Angela Thomas
Angela Thomas

“The Hate U Give” tells the story of 16-year-old Starr, who navigates between the poverty-stricken slum she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is an eyewitness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.

Audrey Wells is adapting the novel to screenplay.

Thomas, a student in Belhaven University’s creative writing program at the time she came up with the idea for “The Hate U Give” in 2011, originally wrote it as a short story for her senior-year project, but it quickly expanded into a novel-length work.

The title comes from a tattoo worn by Tupac Shakur (the acronym T.H.U.G.).

“What society feeds into youth comes back later and kicks society in the butt,” Thomas explained then title to PW, describing Shakur’s music as having had a profound influence on her. “These kids who are being blamed for their own deaths are still kids.”

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