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Netflix Acquires Animated LGBTQ+-themed Film ‘Nimona’ Starring Riz Ahmed

Netflix Acquires Animated LGBTQ+-themed Film ‘Nimona’ Starring Riz Ahmed

  • The British Pakistani actor, musician, and activist plays Knight Ballister Boldheart who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit.

The animated film “Nimona,” starring British Pakistani actor, musician, and activist Riz Ahmed and Chloe Grace Moretz, has been acquired by Netflix. Based on the adaptation of ND Stevenson’s New York Times bestselling graphic novel of the same name is being helmed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane. It will debut on the streamer in 2023. 

The Netflix deal comes after “the film was scrapped following the shutdown of Blue Sky Studios amid Disney’s acquisition of Fox,” as reported by Deadline. “It was previously set up at the Fox-owned Blue Sky Studios, which was later shuttered by Disney,” the report added.

The LGBTQ+-themed film revolves around Knight Ballister Boldheart (Ahmed) who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The only person who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona (Moretz), a shape-shifting teen who might also be a monster he’s sworn to kill. “Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, this is an inclusive story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone,” according to the synopsis of the film.

The film is produced by Roy Lee, Karen Ryan and Julie Zackary of Annapurna Films, along with Robert L. Baird, Megan Ellison and Andrew Millstein as executive producers, and DNEG handling animation for the feature.

Ahmed recently shared an Oscar with British Indian director Aneil Karia for the live-action short “The Long Goodbye.” Ahmed co-wrote, produced, and stars in the short film where he plays Riz, whose British-Pakistani family encounters far-right marchers with terrible consequences.

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The 12-minute film shares its name with the 2020 album by Ahmed, which was inspired, in part, by the rise of far-right political groups and anti-immigration rhetoric in the post-Brexit U.K. The film incorporates music from Ahmed’s album. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film, “which culminates in a searing monologue from Ahmed, is a terrifying look at an everyday nightmare for members of certain marginalized communities.” 

Some of Ahmed’s future projects include “The Son of Good Fortune” at Amazon, along with Lulu Wang. The two will develop and executive produce the comedy series based on the novel of the same name by Lysley Tenorio, about an undocumented Filipino teenager in the Bay area navigating a tumultuous relationship with his former B-movie action star mother, falling in love for the first time, and working out how to pay back a massive debt before his whole life crumbles. 

He is also working on a film adaptation of author Mosin Hamid’s best-selling book, “Exit West,” directed by Yann Demange, which is being produced by the Obamas’ production company, Higher Ground Productions, The New York Times reported earlier. 

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