Zadie Smith to Make Screenwriting Debut with Claire Denis Sci-Fi Film

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Although Zadie Smith doesn’t come immediately to mind when thinking about science fiction, famed director Claire Denis chose to collaborate with Smith on the screenplay of an upcoming sci-fi film. Plot details haven’t been announced yet, but according to Screen International it will take place “beyond the solar system” in a “future that seems like the present.” It will be both the novelist’s and the director’s first foray into science fiction.

Claire Denis has directed acclaimed films such as Chocolat, I Can’t Sleep, and Good Work. The last (Beau Travail in French) is loosely based on Herman Melville’s 1888 novel Billy Budd. Although she was born in Paris, France, Denis lived in West Africa during her childhood, including stints in Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Cameroon. These experiences are known to have influenced her films, which often deal with themes of colonial and post-colonial West Africa.

Zadie Smith is best known for novels such as White Teeth, NW, and On Beauty. The latter was shortlisted for the 2005 Man Booker Prize. None of them are set in outer space.

Smith’s husband, poet Nick Laird, will also co-write the film script. I can already picture the literary power couple rolling up to the red carpet looking fabulous (as per usual).

According to the A.V. Club, the screenplay will be Denis’ first English-language film, so it’s no surprise that she enlisted Zadie — one of England’s finest contemporary wordsmiths — to help craft it.

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