Monday, April 24, 2017

The Hate U Give: Page to Film by The Hermit Librarian

32613366 As reported by The Hollywood Reporter on 23 March 2016, Angie Thomas's debut novel The Hate U Give was snapped up by Fox 2000 in an all out bidding war, a full year before the novel was even published. If that doesn't tell you that this book is something special, then let me explain. The Hate U Give is an important novel whose plot is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and whose title is inspired by Tupac's THUG tattoo (spelled out in the narrative as: T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. = The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone). It tells the story of Starr Carter and what happens after she witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend, Khalil. Should she speak up or protect herself? She's seen the hashtags, the protests. What is right when it's you that is in the middle of it all? I'd encourage everyone to read the novel, as I myself am doing as I write this article, but the movie is sure to add to the total audience. To begin with, Amandla Stenberg of The Hunger Games and forthcoming Everything, Everything fame has been cast as the main character Starr. Poised to be the next young adult film star, her exposure can only add to the attention this film will garner.

The Hate U Give: Page to Film

by The Hermit Librarian
@Getty Images
Not only is Amandla starring in several adaptations in the coming years (Everything, Everything; The Darkest Minds), but she is already an outspoken activist for many issues and is no stranger to voicing them. In an interview with Estelle Tang of, Amandla said:
...I never feel reluctant talking about issues or defending people and their identities. I don't feel afraid to talk about racism or to talk about sexism or the gender binary, because I feel like it's important and necessary and that importance outweighs any potential backlash that I can receive. I'm lucky because the most dangerous thing that could happen to me is that someone will say something mean on a computer screen miles away and so I feel like if that's all that I'm facing then why would I not use my platform to talk about things?
Attached to direct and bringing his experience in film making to the project is George Tillman Jr., a director with a strong background directing movies regarding black culture. His work includes Soul Food (1997) for which he was nominated for Best Director at the Black Film Awards and Notorious (2009), a film about The Notorious B.I.G., which earned him a Best Director award and a Best Screenplay award for its screenwriters at the Black Reel Awards. Fox 2000 is also an amazing choice of studio for The Hate U Give, given the experience the studio has in turning young adult novels into successful films. In 2014 John Green's young adult romance novel The Fault in Our Stars was made into a movie with a budget of $12 millions dollars and brought in a return of $307 million dollars worldwide. Being, arguably, one of his and the most popular young adult books at the time and comparing it to THUG's popularity prior to and since publication, the projected estimates for box office returns are likely to be through the roof. At this time there's not much more news on potential screenwriters or other casting decisions, but with two of the most important roles filled already, that of the main star and of the person that will lead all others toward the final product, one can imagine that the future is looking bright.

The foundation has been set and, as The Hate U Give enters its 7th week on the New York Times Bestseller List, with a personal best of #1, one has to wonder if any book or film will be able to bring it down. The issues brought up in it remain current and the film adaptation will keep them fresh in the public's mind. It will hopefully keep the conversations going about what goes on in our country every day, regardless of whether or not we as individuals see it in our communities. Our towns are not the only ones in the country. Personally, I live in a rural farm town and know there are things I will never understand from a personal perspective. However, I listen, I absorb, and I pay attention. I don't ignore and hopefully this book and this film will encourage others to do the same.

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