Queen of Katwe

After breaking out in 12 Years a Slave, we actually haven’t seen Lupita Nyong’o on screen since. Yes, she did motion-capture work for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book, but for those hoping for a more substantial role from the actress, it will arrive this year. Mississippi Masala and Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair recently adapted Tim Crothers‘ book, based on his own article for ESPN, with Queen of Katwe and the first trailer has landed today.

The Disney drama follows the true story of Phiona Mutesi, who comes from the slums of Kampala, Uganda and became a chess prodigy as a teenager. The first trailer shows off an authentic, feel-good drama and we imagine it’ll be a strong fit for fall festivals before it hits theaters. Also starring newcomer Madina Nalwanga and David Oyelowo, check out the trailer and poster below.

Queen of Katwe is the colorful true story of a young girl selling corn on the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess, and, as a result of the support she receives from her family and community, is instilled with the confidence and determination she needs to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion. Directed by Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) from a screenplay by William Wheeler (The Hoax) based on the book by Tim Crothers, Queen of Katwe is produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher (The Darjeeling Limited) and John Carls (Where the Wild Things Are) with Will Weiske and Troy Buder serving as executive producers. The film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo (Selma), Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) and newcomer Madina Nalwanga.

For 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Nalwanga) and her family, life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle. Her mother, Harriet (Nyong’o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende (Oyelowo), a soccer player turned missionary who teaches local children chess, she is captivated. Chess requires a good deal of concentration, strategic thinking and risk taking, all skills which are applicable in everyday life, and Katende hopes to empower youth with the game. Phiona is impressed by the intelligence and wit the game requires and immediately shows potential. Recognizing Phiona’s natural aptitude for chess and the fighting spirit she’s inherited from her mother, Katende begins to mentor her, but Harriet is reluctant to provide any encouragement, not wanting to see her daughter disappointed. As Phiona begins to succeed in local chess competitions, Katende teaches her to read and write in order to pursue schooling. She quickly advances through the ranks in tournaments, but breaks away from her family to focus on her own life. Her mother eventually realizes that Phiona has a chance to excel and teams up with Katende to help her fulfill her extraordinary potential, escape a life of poverty and save her family.

Queen of Katwe poster

Queen of Katwe opens on September 23rd.

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