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Based on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel, Aunjanue Ellis Will Star in ‘The Nickel Boys’ for MGM’s Orion Pictures.

The film stars Ethan Herisse, Brandon Wilson, Hamish Linklater, and Fred Hechinger. It was directed by RaMell Ross.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead will be adapted for the big screen by MGM’s Orion Pictures, starring Oscar and Emmy nominee Aunjanue Ellis.

Ellis will co-star alongside Ethan Herisse (“When They See Us“) and Brandon Wilson (“The Way Back“), who will lead the young cast, as well as Hamish Linklater (“The Big Short“) and Fred Hechinger (“The Woman in the Window,” “Newsweek”).

Ross said announcing the feature film adaptation, “It is an honor to collaborate with such creative individuals and be entrusted with such an incredibly written story with historical origins.” “I am continually impressed by the passion and ingenuity of the group of individuals driving this initiative forward.”


Ross and two-time Academy Award nominee Joslyn Barnes adapted the screenplay for Louverture Films, which is producing the film alongside Plan B Entertainment and Anonymous Content. Whitehead is the producer in charge.

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Alana Mayo, the president of Orion Pictures, added, “RaMell is one of the most influential visual artists of our day, with a unique voice and viewpoint.” With this work, he invites us to view a world surrounded by both beauty and neglect through a lens of the Black experience that has not yet been portrayed in the film. Together with our colleagues at Plan B, Anonymous Content, and Joslyn Barnes, we are ecstatic to have the chance to collaborate with these extraordinary talents to bring “The Nickel Boys” to the big screen.”

The Nickel Boys” was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Whitehead’s second after “The Underground Railroad” in 2016. This novel was turned into a limited series for Amazon Prime Video, which was also produced by Plan B, and was nominated for a Peabody Award, a BAFTA, and seven Emmys.

Based on Colson Whitehead's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novel, Aunjanue Ellis Will Star in 'The Nickel Boys' for MGM's Orion Pictures.

Ellis recently portrayed Serena and Venus Williams’ mother, Oracene Price, in “King Richard,” for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. Among the upcoming projects of the two-time Emmy nominee are the new film adaptation of “The Color Purple,” “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat,” “The Deliverance,” “Justified: City Primeval,” and “61st Street.” Ellis has representation from UTA and TMT Entertainment Group.

Similarly, the film’s youthful actors are creating outstanding résumés. Here was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for his performance as Yusef Salaam in the Emmy-nominated series “When They See Us.” He has also appeared in “Chicago Med,” “Big Time Rush,” “About a Boy,” “The Mindy Project,” and “Key and Peele.” The young actor is a freshman at the University of California, Irvine, where he studies chemistry and directs the acapella group Vivo. Wilson’s earlier credits include “The Way Back” by Gavin O’Connor and “Murmur” by Mark Polish.

Wilson is represented by A3 Artists Agency and Seven Summits Pictures & Management. Clear Talent Group and Stagecoach Entertainment represent Herisse.

Linklater is presently appearing in the limited series “Angelyne” and the Watergate anthology “Gaslit”; he recently completed filming the Apple+ limited series “Manhunt,” in which he plays Abraham Lincoln. In addition to his performances in “The Newsroom,” “Fargo,” “The Big Short,” and “42,” Linklater is a mainstay of the New York theatre scene, both on and off Broadway. CAA, Untitled Entertainment, and Tara Kole at Johnson, Shapiro, Slewett & Kole represent him.

Hechinger will appear in “The Pale Blue Eye” and “Butcher’s Crossing” in the near future, and he recently completed filming on “Hell of a Summer.” He will also soon be seen in Sony’s adaptation of Marvel’s “Kraven the Hunter.” Hechinger is most recognized for his contributions to the Emmy-nominated television programs “Pam and Tommy,” “The White Lotus,” “Fear Street,” and “The Underground Railroad.” A3 Artists Agency and Brillstein Entertainment Partners represent him.


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