Viola Davis Books Lead in Steve McQueen's Heist Thriller, 'Widows' (Adaptation of British TV Series)
Photo Credit: Viola Davis

Viola Davis Books Lead in Steve McQueen's Heist Thriller, 'Widows' (Adaptation of British TV Series)

Viola Davis
Viola Davis

A project first announced in 2014, Steve McQueen re-teamed with his “12 Years a Slave” producer and financier New Regency, for a big screen adaptation of the British TV series “Widows,” which aired in 1983, and told the story the widows of 3 crime bosses killed during a robbery attempt, who are being pressured by the police, as well as a rival group of thieves intent on taking

over their husbands’ crime business. The widows then team up to eliminate both problems, as they bring on a 4th woman to pull off a heist of their own.

In the original, the 3 widows are played by white actresses, but the 4th woman who’s enlisted, was played by a black actress in Eva Mottley.

McQueen’s adaptation will be a feature film, not a TV series, and will be set in the U.S.A.

Announced today, Viola Davis is the first actress to be cast in the project, which is being scripted by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”) and McQueen, who will also produce, alongside Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films (“Shame,” “The Kings Speech”).

Film 4 is co-financing with New Regency.

No word on what role Viola Davis has signed up to play, although maybe we can assume it’ll be the role originated by Eva Mottley. However, the racial make-up of the original starring cast may deviate from the film.

McQueen is still in very rare air right now – a black filmmaker, universally loved and respected, across all racial and ethnic boundaries, who is in a position to do almost anything he wants to do for his next project, as the world awaits in anticipation to learn what exactly that will be. Although his HBO series, “Codes of Conduct,” was eventually scrapped by the network. He also had plans to direct a feature film on the life of Paul Robeson.

As for Viola Davis, she’ll next appear alongside Denzel Washington in “Fences” later this year.

Variety was first to report the news of Davis’ casting.

I’m not at all familiar with the original British “Widows” TV series, but I did find several episodes in full, on YouTube, so you can check them all out if you’re interested. I certainly will at some point. Below you’ll find season 1, episode 1, 2 and 3 of the series:

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