We have updates on the Ebony Life-Netflix collaboration on a film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman. 

Principal photography has kicked off for the adaptation, with Nigerian filmmaker Biyi Bandele directing. Bandele is known for movies such as Fifty and Half of a Yellow Sun. There is currently no information about the cast.

According to Pulse TV, the film is a period piece and will follow the plotline of the play. The play, which was first published in 1975, is set in 1940s colonial Nigeria and follows the complicated dilemma of a horseman who balks at fulfilling his royal duty of ritual suicide.

Bandele is a great choice, seeing that, in addition to making blockbuster movies and TV shows, he is also a successful playwright and novelist. He actually recently announced a new novel in the works. [Go here if you missed it.] He studied drama at Obafemi Awolowo Univeristy, Ile Ife and has worked with the Royal Court Theatre in London for many years.

Ebony Life CEO Mo Abudu, confirmed the production on Instagram:

We started with Castle & Castle 2, we then went on to Chief Daddy 2, then recently announced Blood Sisters and yesterday, we started principal photography on something very dear and special- Death and the King’s Horseman.

Death and the King’s Horseman is a play by Professor Wole Soyinka based on a real incident that took place in Nigeria during the colonial era: the horseman of a Yoruba king was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities.

It has been a lot of work bringing this particular project to life because it is a project piece set in Nigeria in the 1940s.

The movie is co-produced by Heidi Uys, Judith Audu, Quinty Pillay, Adeola Osunkujo and James Amuta, while cinematography is handled by Lance Gewer.

Stay tuned for more info!