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Film Adaptation Planned for Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat

AgaatAlert! The film rights for Marlene van Niekerk’s award-winning novel Agaat, translated from the original Afrikaans by Michiel Heyns, have been optioned by UK producers Patrick Holzen, Mark Harris and Debbie Vandermeulen, reports Thompson on Hollywood.

Kasi Lemmons, who recently adapted Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, has been named as the director. According to Lemmons is scheduled to finish the screenplay by next month. South Africa’s Do Productions will co-produce the film.

Agaat traces the relationship between Milla, a white woman, and the black girl, Agaat, she adopts but later reduces to the role of housekeeper and nanny. When Milla is diagnosed with motor neuron disease, the position of power falls to Agaat, who has to care for her and manage the farm.

Kasi Lemmons, director of “Eve’s Bayou” and “Talk to Me,” is attached to adapt and direct South African apartheid novel “Agaat,” written in 2010 by Marlene van Niekerk. The rights to the book have been optioned by producers Patrick Holzen, Mark R. Harris and Debbie Vandermeulen.

Holzen states, “It took a long deliberation to find the perfect person and I can’t imagine the project with anyone else now. [Lemmons'] previous projects have dealt with themes of social change, empowerment and love, which are our themes as well. Kasi is a formidable talent with a unique perspective that was essential to adapting this masterpiece.”

The Eve’s Bayou director will both adapt and direct the feature film version of Marlene van Niekerk’s Agaat. Kasi Lemmons is scheduled to finish the screenplay by next month, the producers announced today.

UK-based Patrick Holzen, Debbie Vandermeulen and Crash producer Mark R. Harris will produce the adaptation of the acclaimed 2010 South African novel.

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