Will Smith and David Oyelowo Team to Adapt ‘Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun’ for Netflix

By Angelique Jackson | Variety

Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios and David Oyelowo’s Yoruba Saxon have partnered with Netflix to produce the film adaptation of “Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun.”

Based on the upcoming book by British-Nigerian author, journalist and hair care educator Tọlá Okogwu, “Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun” tells the tale of a teenager who learns she has powers and travels to Nigeria to learn more about her origins, where she discovers a threat to her newfound magical community.null

Described as “Black Panther” meets “X-Men” or “Percy Jackson,” the book is the first in an action-packed series for middle-grade children and will be published by Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and U.K. this June. Okogwu is represented by CAA and Claire Wilson at RCW Literary Agency.

Ola Shokunbi is set to write the film adaptation after helping to bring “Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun” to Netflix. The project is produced by Smith and Jon Mone, Westbrook Studios’ co-president of film, and Oyelowo on behalf of Yoruba Saxon. Executive producers are Westbrook Studios’ Heather Washington and Yoruba Saxon’s Jessica Oyelowo.

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Westbrook Studios is a subsidiary of Westbrook Inc., the media company launched in 2019 by founders Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Miguel Melendez and Ko Yada. With its focus on “empowering artists to tell stories that connect the world,” Westbrook most recently produced the Oscar-nominated family drama “King Richard,” based on the life of Richard Williams, father to tennis greats Serena and Venus. On the television side, the studio produced Peacock’s “Bel-Air,” the highly-anticipated dramatic revival of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which launched following the Super Bowl.

Led by co-presidents Mone (film) and Terence Carter (television), Westbrook Studios is also home to Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris’ Emmy-nominated Facebook Watch series, “Red Table Talk”; Netflix’s “Amend: The Fight For America,” a powerful, six-part docuseries that explores the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; the Disney Plus adventure series “Welcome to Earth”; Season 4 of the Netflix series “Cobra Kai”; and the ABC limited series “Women of the Movement.”