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Alicia Keys Attempts to Extend that Superwoman Status

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 8, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | April 8, 2010 |

Man, I dig me some Alicia Keys. In addition to a lovely signing voice, she pretty talk me one hi! (That’s tongue-tied for “BLAM!) Also, she’s shown a talent for actressin’ in recent years with supporting roles in Smokin’ Aces and The Nanny Diaries (OK, maybe not so much the latter). Now, according to The Playlist, she’s angling for something more substantial.

Keys is set to star in and produce House at Sugar Beach, a project in the early stages of development based on the NYTimes’ Helene Cooper’s memoir. The movie, set up at Keys’ production company, Big Pita, Little Pita, is about Cooper’s family’s escape and survival from Liberia after a bloody coup in 1980, and 23 years later, Cooper’s return to her native country to find the foster sister that her family left behind.

Here’s the full synopsis:

Journalist Cooper has a compelling story to tell: Born into a wealthy, powerful, dynastic Liberian family descended from freed American slaves, she came of age in the 1980s when her homeland slipped into civil war. On Cooper’s 14th birthday, her mother gives her a diamond pendant and sends her to school. Cooper is convinced that somehow our world would right itself. That afternoon her uncle Cecil, the minister of foreign affairs, is executed. Cooper combines deeply personal and wide-ranging political strands in her memoir. There’s the halcyon early childhood in Africa, a history of the early settlement of Liberia, an account of the violent, troubled years as several regimes are overthrown, and the story of the family’s exile to America. A journalist-as-a-young-woman narrative unfolds as Cooper reports the career path that led her from local to national papers in the U.S. The stories themselves are fascinating, but a flatness prevails — perhaps one that mirrors the author’s experience. After her uncle’s televised execution, Cooper does the same thing I would do for the rest of my life when something bad happens: I focus on something else. I concentrate on minutiae. It’s the only way to keep going when the world has ended.

Sounds like a solid project, and one that could show off Keys’ thespian abilities, and hopefully there’s a considerable amount bubbling beneath the Aho Ho Hooooooo. Oh Oh oh OH Oh Oh Ooooooh. It’s still without a writer or a director, and Keys is on tour until early June, so lensing is obviously some time away. In the meantime, you can get your morning started with this.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.