Dee Rees has been slated to direct and write the forthcoming fantasy-meets-musical film The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies, per Deadline.
The writer-director became the first African-American woman nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for her 2017 film Mudbound, which garnered four total Academy Award nominations.
Rees will team up with Mudbound producer Cassian Elwes again for The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies, which follows a young musician who catapults herself out of her anonymous hometown into the bright lights of a big city in search of stardom.
“I was inspired by the AfroPunk and SteamFunk scenes and want to re-imagine the whole Follies genre for today, lift it out of the problematic tropes of the past and invest it with a queer, edgy energy,” Rees told Deadline. “My favorite musical as a kid growing up was The Wiz, but ironically I generally hated musicals. Which is why I wanted to take this on and write something original —to try and do something unexpected with the form—make a musical for people who hate musicals.”
Singer-songwriter Santigold is set to compose the music for the film. Santigold has previously helped with the music for films such as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Heat, Paper Towns and Girls.
“It is such an honor to be working with Dee on this project,” Santigold told Deadline. “She has such a fresh and distinct voice and vision, I am continuously blown away by the breadth of her talent. We’ve been having so much fun weaving the soundscape for this beautiful world she’s dreamed up, and are equally keen to leap recklessly between genres, instruments, and vocal styles. It’s a dream collaboration in that sense.”
Other than Mudbound, Rees is best known for her 2015 HBO biopic Bessie starring Queen Latifah. The film garnered two Emmy nominations for Rees’ writing and directing, and took home the statue for Outstanding Television Movie among its four total nominations.