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Kelvin Harrison Jr. To Lead Universal Musical From Michel Gondry, Pharrell Williams; Da’Vine Joy Randolph Circling – The Dish

EXCLUSIVE: Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Waves) has been set to lead a new, untitled Universal feature project from director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and producer Pharrell Williams (Hidden Figures), according to multiple sources, who also tell us that 2024 Academy Award winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) is in talks.

Universal declined comment. But the film is said to be a coming-of-age musical, set in 1977 Virginia Beach, which draws inspiration from Williams’ childhood growing up in the city’s Atlantis Apartments.

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Martin Hynes (Toy Story 4) and Steven Levenson (Tick, Tick…Boom!) penned the script. Williams and Mimi Valdés will produce through i am OTHER, alongside Gil Netter for Gil Netter Productions.

Known for roles in Trey Edward Shults’ Waves, Joe Wright’s Cyrano, Nat Geo’s Genius: MLK/X, which had him playing Martin Luther King Jr., and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, which had him portraying B.B. King, Harrison has also starred in titles like Chevalier, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Mudbound, among others. Also previously seen on MGM+’s Godfather of Harlem, the actor’s upcoming projects include Searchlight’s rock opera O’Dessa and Barry Jenkins’ Mufasa: The Lion King.

The winner of this year’s Supporting Actress Oscar for her supporting turn opposite Paul Giamatti and newcomer Dominic Sessa in Alexander Payne’s coming-of-age drama The Holdovers, Randolph was also seen recently in George C. Wolfe’s acclaimed Netflix pic Rustin. Breaking out opposite Eddie Murphy in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, the actress has also previously been seen in films like The Lost City, The United States vs. Billie Holiday and Kajillionaire. She recurs as Detective Donna Williams on the Hulu series Only Murders in the Building, and boasts additional TV credits including High Fidelity, The Last O.G., On Becoming a God in Central Florida and Empire.

Best known for his 2004 romantic drama The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, which brought him an Oscar for Original Screenplay, Gondry has also helmed films including The Science of Sleep and Be Kind Rewind. Most recently, the visually imaginative French filmmaker premiered his dramedy The Book of Solutions in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, additionally reteaming with Carrey as the director and executive producer of his Showtime series Kidding.

A Grammy and Billboard Music Award winner, Williams first came to recognition in the ’90s as one half of hip hop and R&B duo The Neptunes before breaking out as a successful solo artist and record producer, releasing solo albums In My Mind and Girl around the same time that he broke out in film and TV as a producer, songwriter and composer. Williams earned his first Oscar nomination for his chart-topping single “Happy,” written for Despicable Me 2, and returned to competition in 2017 as producer of Best Picture contender Hidden Figures, which also brought him a Golden Globe nom. He earned an Emmy nomination for his song “Letter to My Godfather,” penned for Clarence Avant doc The Black Godfather, and also served as the composer for the Despicable Me franchise and Hidden Figures. Additional producing credits for the multi-hyphenate include Dope, Roxanne Roxanne and Prime Video’s Harlem.

Harrison is repped by WME, Anonymous Content, and Del Shaw Mooves; Randolph by CAA and Fox Rothschild; Gondry by WME; Hynes by Original Artists and Gotham Group; and Levenson by WME and Schreck Rose Dapello.

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