- The film is based on the acclaimed children’s book of the same name written by Onjali Q. Rauf.
Freida Pinto has been cast alongside Vanessa Redgrave for “The Boy at the Back of the Class,” a family feature based on the acclaimed children’s book written by Onjali Q. Rauf, Variety has reported. The film will be directed by Stephen Herek (“101 Dalmations”), penned by screenwriter Tim John, and produced by David Braithwaite and Adam Rolston.
The film, which will go into production later this year, “centers on a mysterious new boy called Ahmet who joins nine-year-old Alexa’s school,” according to the film’s longline. “As Alexa learns that he is a refugee, separated from his family, she will do anything she can to help. With the adults out of the way, Alexa and her school friends come up with a daring plan to reunite Ahmet with his family – the start of an adventure that will take them all the way to Buckingham Palace.”
First published in 2018, Raul’s book has sold more than half a million copies in the U.K. It has also won multiple awards, including the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and the Janusz Kor-czak Prize in France.
Pinto, a Mumbai native, became a highly sought-after actress after co-starring in the 2008 sleeper hit “Slumdog Millionaire.” She is known for her supporting role in the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) and for starring in Bruno Mars’ music video “Gorilla” (2013). More recently she was nominated for best-supporting actress in the 2018 Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for her performance in “Love Sonia,” “Slumdog Millionaire’ producer Tabrez Noorani’s debut directorial venture about Indian girls being sex trafficked.
She is adapting Huma Abedin’s memoir “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds” into a television series. The 37-year-old will star in the series as well and will play the 46-year-old Abedin, who is a top Hillary Clinton aide and longtime advisor. Pinto and her producing partner Emily Verellen Strom will executive produce alongside Abedin.
She will also star in and produce “The Henna Artist,” based on Indian American author Alka Joshi’s best-selling debut novel of the same name. The project will be written and executive produced by Sri Rao as part of a first-look deal Rao has signed with Netflix. Under the pact, he will create and develop scripted and unscripted series for Netflix through his Sri & Company.