Cape Town-born director Liesl Tommy has been tasked with directing the film adaptation of Trevor Noah’s book Born A Crime.
The director is widely known as the first woman of colour to be nominated for a Tony Award for Best Theatre Production. The production in question, Eclipse, was also the first on-stage production Lupita Nyong’o performed in. Nyong’o is also slated to play Noah’s mother in Born A Crime.
Tommy emigrated to Massachusetts in America from a township outside Cape Town when she was 15 years old. She still has strong ties to Cape Town as her family lives here.
She has directed theatre adaptations of Les Miserables, Centre Stage and Frozen: Live at the Hyperion.
In a strange string of events, Tommy gifted her family copies of the very same book at Christmas gift two years, but never dreamed she would one day be directing it.
“When I went home to Cape Town for Christmas in 2016 I gave my dad, my brother, and some uncles this book Born A Crime by Trevor Noah for Christmas presents. Little did I know I would one day be sharing this announcement. To think I’ll be shooting this feature film in South Africa… just no words,” she said.
Born A Crime follows the life of a mischievous young boy as he grows into a restless young man in a world where he was never supposed to exist. The story also follows the relationship between the young man and his mother, who is fearless, rebellious and fervently religious – as much a contradiction as he is.
This will be Tommy’s very first feature film.
— Liesl (@LieslTommy) March 27, 2018
Thrilled to share that @LieslTommy is directing the film adaptation of @TrevorNoah‘s #BornACrime! She’s a powerhouse whom I have known & admired for years & directed my broadway debut, Eclipsed. I can’t wait & am proud to have a South African woman at the helm of this story. pic.twitter.com/zKluX1u0nU
— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo) March 26, 2018