Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Damson Idris Land ‘Farming’ Drama
By Dave McNary
Kate Beckinsale, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Damson Idris are starring in the British drama “Farming” with shooting said to start this August in the U.K. and Nigeria.
Nigerian-British writer and director Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is directing from his own screenplay based on his autobiographical story, “Farming.” The script was developed in the Sundance Film Institute and chronicles Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s own coming-of-age story growing up fostered by a white working class family in the U.K.
Idris, star of John Singelton’s upcoming FX series “Snowfall,” will play the lead. Beckinsale will portray his foster mother, a stern, hard-loving, and, at times, self-serving woman.
Michael London and Janice Williams, who teamed on “Trumbo,” are producing through Groundswell Productions together with Francois Ivernel (“The Queen”) through Montebello Productions, Charles de Rosen, Miranda Ballesteros, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. HanWay Films is handling international sales and distribution and is selling the film in Cannes. WME Global is overseeing the U.S. sale.
During the 1960s and 1980s, tens of thousands of Nigerian children were farmed out to white working class families in the U.K. But as they were in private foster care, many of them were never registered with social services, making them invisible to the authorities. Many were never reunited with their birth parents.
In the film, the lead character is sent to the U.K. by his parents in hopes of achieving a better life. Instead, he becomes the feared leader of a white skinhead gang in 1980s England. When all seems lost and he spirals into self-destruction, a benevolent teacher (played by Mbatha-Raw) offers him one last chance at redemption.
“I’m thrilled to be finally bringing this important story to the world, which will serve as the voice of a forgotten generation,” says Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje is represented by APA and The Artists Partnership, Untitled Entertainment, and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Idris is represented by Identity Agency Group, WME, and Elevate Entertainment. Beckinsale is represented by UTA, while Mbatha-Raw by Curtis Brown, CAA and Authentic Talent and Literary Management. Idris, Beckinsale, and Mbatha-Raw are also represented by Hansen, Jacobson LLP.