William Kamkwamba’s autobiography is getting a film adaptation, and it has none other than Chiwetel Ejiofor directing and starring.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is a 2009 book following Kamkwamba’s childhood, when he built a wind turbine from spare bicycle parts to provide for his village in Malawi. He was just 13 when he did that, and he has gone on to write a book about the experience and graduate from Dartmouth.
Ejiofor’s adaptation is as yet untitled, but it has just begun production in Malawi. It’s something of a passion project for the award-winning actor, who told THR:
“William’s story represents what has to be the future in countries like Malawi: developing countries, overflowing with beauty, and with potential which simply needs access to opportunity in order to be fully unleashed. William’s determination and inventiveness created something that not only meant the end of the ‘hungry season’ for his community, it also catapulted him into a future where all his potential could be realized. I want this to be a film that allows people to see that Malawi, and the world, will be all the better for everything William and those like him are able to contribute when they have the opportunities they urgently need to carve out their own extraordinary destinies.”
This will be Ejiofor’s directorial debut, and he’s not messing around. He’s brought cinematographer Bill Pope (The Matrix, Spider-Man 2, Baby Driver, just to name a few of his past credits), and designers Tulé Peak and Bia Salgado from City of God along for the ride. The cast includes Noma Dumezweni (who played Hermione in the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Joseph Marcell. Newcomer Maxwell Simba will play the 13-year-old Kamkwamba, and Ejiofor will play his father Trywell.
As you could probably have guessed, “key themes from the film aim to raise awareness around environmental sustainability and the power of education.” The central relationship of the film is a father trying to understand and support his talented son, to give the story’s broader ideas an emotional core. Keep an eye on this one.