Red Crown Productions has landed British thesp Idris Elba and Sin Nombre helmer Cary Fukunaga for their upcoming adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s bestselling 2005 novel Beasts of No Nation, Deadline reports.
“We fell in love with Iweala’s powerful narrative,” said Red Crown partner Lundberg, “and Idris and Cary are a tremendous pairing.”
Beasts of No Nation follows a West African boy named Agu who becomes a child soldier for a group of mercenaries after his country (which remains nameless throughout the novel) erupts into civil war. Elba, who will also produce the film adaptation, is set to star as the brutal commander of the mercenary unit, who repeatedly abuses Agu throughout the war.
“This project has been seven years in the making,” said Fukunaga, “so to say I’m excited to start shooting this — and with Idris Elba as lead — would be me trying to play it cool. Red Crown has real moxie standing behind this story.”
Elba, whose star has progressively risen throughout the past few years thanks to the success of his Golden Globe-winning BBC America crime drama Luther, is taking on a his darkest role yet with Beasts of No Nation. Best known for playing heroes in Luther as well as blockbusters like Pacific Rim and Prometheus, Elba will be taking on the challenge of playing a lead antagonist for the first time in his Hollywood career.
Fukunaga, who previously won the directing award at the Cannes Film Festival for Sin Nombre, has also directed a 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre, and HBO’s upcoming crime drama True Detective. He has a few projects already in the pipeline, including a two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s It and a sci-fi romance called Spaceless, so where he’s planning to fit Beasts of No Nation into his schedule has yet to be determined.
It may be some time before Beasts of No Nation hits theaters, but Elba fans can look forward to seeing the actor in the third season of Luther, premiering stateside on September 3rd, and buzzy biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, due out November 29th.
Did you read Beasts of No Nation? Does Elba seem like the right actor to portray such a brutal character? Sound off in the comments section.