Just four days ago, we brought you news that 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o had boarded Star Wars Episode VII, and yesterday we reported that she had agreed to produce and star in African love story Americanah. Now, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nyong’o’s co-star in 12 Years, has also added another promising project to his schedule. The actor will star in Marching Powder, based on the non fiction book by Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden, which New Regency is developing specifically for the Oscar nominee.
Ejiofor will play McFadden, a “convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro prison.” McFadden forms a bond with Young, an Australian journalist, who heard about McFadden’s prison life while backpacking in South America. Young proceeded to pay off prison guards, who arranged for him to share a cell with McFadden. What came next was truly remarkable.
According to Young and McFadden’s book, the inmates essentially ran the place; they were expected to buy their cells from real estate agents, they visited shops and restaurants established within San Pedro, and many women and children lived with their incarcerated husbands. Meanwhile, ex-politicians and drug lords living behind bars inhabited luxury apartments. At San Pedro, “while kids ran around during the day, some of Bolivia’s busiest cocaine laboratories percolated at night.”
Marching Powder sounds like an absolutely fascinating project, and it will be very interesting to see who New Regency hands off directing and screenwriting duties to. Currently, Ejiofor is the only sure thing about the adaptation – the movie is really being built entirely around him. However, Marching Powder will not be the next project we see featuring the Oscar nominee – that honor will go either to Craig Zobel’s sci-fi pic Z for Zachariah or John Hillcoat’s ensemble crime thriller Triple Nine, both of which are expected to see release in 2015.