Sanaa Lathan will be the latest on-screen talent to jump into the director’s chair. Lathan will make her feature directorial debut with On the Come Up, and adaptation of Angie Thomas’ best-selling novel of the same name.
Thomas’ other novel, The Hate U Give, was adapted into a feature film directed by George Tillman Jr. and was released in 2018 via Fox 2000. On the Come Up was also supposed to be released through Fox 2000 before the banner was shuttered after the Disney-Fox acquisition. Tillman was also initially attached to direct On the Come Up. It then shifted to Wanuri Kahiu, who had to pull out due to a scheduling conflict.
Deadline first broke the news of the story, stating, “The feature project has been a priority for Paramount Players and they were impressed with Lathan’s vision for the film.”
The book’s official description reads:
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons.
Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
Lathan is set to appear in the third season of Succession on HBO. She’ll also star in the netflix series Hit & Run.
Her short film, Leap, which is part of a lockdown film anthology, is premiering at this year’s Tribeca Festival.