Nigerian Director Andrew Dosunmu To Helm ‘FELA’ Biopic

The hype is real, as black Hollywood looks to turn a corner in the type of productions in the works. Focus Features recently announced word of the helmer behind the upcoming Fela Kuti biopic.

Andrew Dosunmu (Mother Of George) will direct the drama-filled biopic, which has been in development for a while now. Originally, the project was in the hands of director Steve McQueen and would star Chiwetel Ejiofor (who are working together in 12 Years a Slave), but now it appears that Dosunmu will lend his creative touch to the film.

While nothing is definite, Focus owns feature rights that include using Fela’s original music in the picture, and will serve as a stark contrast from the critically-acclaimed Broadway musical.

For those unfamiliar with the Nigerian musical legend, he is often considered akin to Bob Marley and James Brown, and was the pioneer of the Afrobeat musical style. The fusion of jazz, funk and West African drums had never been heard outside of the Motherland, and combined with Kuti’s brash outbursts against government oppression in Nigeria, helped to popularize his life, his loves and sound.

Ever the character, the larger-than-life musician had 27 wives, had his house raided by government enforcers, and experienced great loss as his 78-year-old mother was thrown to her death from a second-story window.

Dosunmu’s most recent work is the highly celebrated Mother Of George, which stars Isaach De Bankolé and Danai Gurira. The native Nigerian got his start as a design assistant with Yves St. Laurent, and after becoming a well-known photographer, he begun his film work after working with the late Isaac Hayes.

Does he fit the bill to pull off the much-gestated FELA biopic? Let us know in the comments section below.

Props: OkayAfrica