After more than two decades in front of the camera, Sanaa Lathan is stepping behind it. The “Affair” alumna is set to make her feature directorial debut with Paramount Players’ “On The Come Up,” an adaptation of Angie Thomas’ New York Times Bestseller. Deadline broke the news.
Published in 2019, “On the Come Up” tells the story of 16-year-old Bri, “who wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral…for all the wrong reasons. Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be,” the source teases.
Thomas’ YA novel “The Hate U Give” was adapted into a critically acclaimed 2018 pic starring Amandla Stenberg. The drama centers on a high school student whose life changes when a white police officer shoots and kills her unarmed Black friend.
Lathan recently joined the cast of HBO’s Emmy-winning hit “Succession.” “Nappily Ever After,” “Love & Basketball,” and “Blade” are among her film credits. She received a Tony nod in 2003 for her Broadway performance in “A Raisin in the Sun.” Her short film “Leap,” part of the “With/In Vol. 1” film anthology, is slated to premiere at Tribeca Film Festival on June 13.
“Right now in our culture, Hollywood and marketing industries — there’s no excuse to not be inclusive anymore. We’ve seen that audiences come and show up for movies and shows that represent all people,” Lathan told EW in 2018. “One of my wishes always, when I was coming up in this industry, was that the Hollywood that I work in really represents the world that we live.”