Ava DuVernay is fresh off the success of her Oscar-nominated movie Selma, and now she’s got another big project that will see Oprah Winfrey make a big acting debut.
DuVernay will be creating a new drama series for Oprah’s television network. The project will be based on the Natalie Baszile novel Queen Sugar, with Oprah serving as executive producer and playing a recurring role. For Oprah, it will be the first time she’s played an acting role on her network.
“I loved this book and immediately saw it as a series for OWN,” Winfrey said in announcing the project.
“The story’s themes of reinventing your life, parenting alone, family connections and conflicts, and building new relationships are what I believe will connect our viewers to this show.”
DuVernay added, “From the moment I was introduced to the book, I was captivated by the idea of a modern woman wrestling with identity, family, culture and the echoes of history. To bring this kind of storytelling to life alongside Oprah for her network is wildly wonderful. I’m excited about what’s in store.”
Oprah Winfrey also teamed up with Ava DuVernay in Selma, a movie that won critical acclaim but was passed over for a Best Directing nod.
DuVernay responded to the snub, saying that the “math” didn’t add up in her favor. She compared the Academy to a “boys club” where new faces often don’t get noticed. A study by the Los Angeles Times in the directors category found that members are 91 percent male and 90 percent white.
“It would have been lovely,” she said about the chance of becoming the first African-American woman to win Best Director.
“When it happens to whomever it happens to, it will certainly have meaning.”
But Ava DuVernay still has a bright future ahead of her, as the project with Oprah Winfrey would indicate. DuVernay has also made a quick rise in Hollywood, earning a Best Picture nomination just four years after her film directing debut.