Zendaya has added another project to her to-do list.
In a Deadline report focused on Legendary winning the film rights to Prince of Cats, adapted by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, it was also listed that the actress has signed on to star in the adaptation of the book, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: Or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery, which will also be adapted by Hinds.
Not much else is known right now, but in 2016, it was in development at Alloy Entertainment and Alloy Features, with Suzanne Allain attached to script.
A short version of their story: In 1848, William and Ellen Craft made one of the most daring and remarkable escapes in the history of slavery in America. With fair-skinned Ellen disguised as a white male planter, and William posing as her servant, the Crafts traveled by rail and ship in plain sight and relative luxury – from bondage in Macon, Georgia, to freedom, first in Philadelphia, then Boston, and ultimately England. The couple actually wrote the book in the 1860s, and was republished in 1999 on paperback, by the University of Georgia Press, and in Summer 2015 as a hardcover by Andesite Press.
Back during the 2016 report, Shadow and Act founder Tambay Obensen wrote, “I know some of you will immediately turn your noses up at this, as yet another ‘slave movie.’ But I would argue that this is one slavery-related narrative that I’d like to see on the big screen, which could play out as more of a thriller than maybe what we’re used to. Let’s just say that we’re entering a second phase of slave narratives on film, in which the stories center more and more on slaves who acted, by any means necessary, on their freedom, with the likes of the Underground Railroad miniseries, which is being billed as more of an action-adventure series, promising a slave narrative the likes of which we haven’t seen before.”
There has been least one filmed dramatization of the Crafts’ story of escape from slavery, made for educational purposes via an outfit called The Phoenix Learning Group. A clip from that is on YouTube.
Zendaya, who is quickly rising the ranks of the most in-demand stars in Hollywood, will lead the cast for HBO’s upcoming series, Euphoria.
She’s also starring and producing a historical film that also deals with her character being disguised as white, A White Lie (from Reese Witherspoon).