Film Forward

Rihanna And Lupita Nyong'o Are Starring In A Buddy Movie, All Thanks To Twitter

Wait until you hear the writer and director.

If you've ever doubted the power of social media, look no further than the latest news out of Hollywood. According to Entertainment Weekly, a movie starring Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o was nabbed by Netflix at the Cannes Film Festival "in a very aggressive bid, beating out multiple other suitors." 

The movie will be written by Insecure co-creator Issa Rae and directed by Selma's Ava DuVernay.

The idea for the film started on Tumblr and Twitter, inspired by a photo of the two stars seated together at a Miu Miu fashion show in 2014. Tumblr user elizabitchtaylor posted, "They look like they're in a heist movie with Rihanna as the tough-as-nails leader/master thief and Lupita as the genius computer hacker." As of now, the post has more than 400,000 notes.


The photo surfaced again on Twitter earlier this year, with user @1800SADGAL tweeting a similar plot idea: "Rihanna looks like she scams rich white men and lupita is the computer smart best friend that helps plan the scans [sic]."

The tweet soon went viral, with more than 90,000 retweets as of this writing. It became clear that, were this movie real, it would definitely have an audience.

It didn't take long for the stars themselves to respond to the idea. Both Nyong'o and Rihanna shared that they were up for it, as did suggested screenwriter Issa Rae and director Ava Duvernay. 

Most people following the fun on Twitter probably didn't expect it to go any further, but now, just about a month later, it's becoming a reality.

According to Entertainment Weekly's sources, Rae is already working on the script. Her reps told Vanity Fair that "the original Twitter users who imagined the concept for this film will be credited and included in some form." Netflix is reportedly aiming to start production in early 2018. (DuVernay is currently in post-production on A Wrinkle in Time.)

The news is significant not only because it shows just what can happen when people share ideas on the internet, but also because this film is confirmed to feature four talented Black women in major roles both in front of and behind the camera — something Hollywood can definitely do with more of.

Twitter has plenty of other ideas for more diverse casting, as we've seen time and again. People want to see more than just straight White men on their screens, and the proof is in the retweets. Here's hoping this becomes a trend. 


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