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Netflix taps Lupita Nyong’o, Tim Burton for new projects

Nyong'o's best-selling book Sulwe is being adapted into an animated musical feature, and Burton will make his TV directorial debut on live-action series Wednesday.
February 18, 2021

Netflix is adding some big-name firepower to its kids slate. The streamer has greenlit a new animated musical based on Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o’s bestselling book Sulwe and a Tim Burton-led Addams Family live-action series.

Highlighting themes of self-love and colorism, Sulwe tells the story of a young dark-skinned girl who sets off on a magical journey after a unique encounter with a shooting star. Nyong’o will produce the film.

“Growing up, I was uncomfortable in my dark skin. I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in the aspirational pages of books and magazines, or even on TV,” said Nyong’o in a release. “Sulwe is a mirror for dark-skinned children to see themselves, a window for those who may not be familiar with colorism, to have understanding and empathy, and an invitation for all who feel different and unseen to recognize their innate beauty and value.”

The book has technically made its Netflix debut; Nyong’o recently read Sulwe in an episode of the streamer’s new series Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, which recently won a Kidscreen Award for Best Inclusivity.

Sulwe is amongst a number of new animated features in the works at Netflix, which is aiming to release six a year. The streamer recently announced animated musical The Witch Boy, and began production on The Magician’s Elephant.

On the TV side of its business, the SVOD and MGM/UA Television are making Wednesday, a new live-action series for young adults based on the iconic character Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family.

Edward Scissorhands director Tim Burton will make his directorial TV debut on the eight-episode series, with creators Al Gough and Miles Millar (Smallville) on board as showrunners.

The coming-of-age supernatural comedy catches up with the morbid teen as a student at Nevermore Academy working to master her emerging psychic abilities and solve a 25-year-old mystery involving her parents.

Andrew Mittman (The Addams Family), Kevin Miserocchi and Kayla Alpert (Code Black, Up All Night), Jonathan Glickman (RESPECT, Addams Family 2) and Gail Berman (The Addams Family) are all executive producing the series.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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