the talent show

Cynthia Erivo is set to star in The Talent Show, a musical drama written by Lena Waithe. The film follows a failed singer who returns to her hometown and ends up leading a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show. So think of it as The Way Back, but with singing instead of basketball. And less beer (probably). Gandja Monteiro (The Chi) is set to direct.

According to THR, the multi-talented Cynthia Ervio has a leading role lined-up with The Talent Show. The film “is the story of a failed songwriter, to be played by Erivo, who returns home to Chicago to lead a group of at-risk youth in their annual talent show.” This is a tried and true storyline, although it usually applies to movies about sports – see HoosiersThe Way Back, and so on. The formula is the same: someone who failed at their dreams gets a shot at redemption by inspiring the next generation.

While this isn’t the most original story, Ervio is crazy talented, both a great actress and a great singer. Plus, the script comes from Lena Waithe, a highly-praised creator, and writer of various titles. That might be enough talent to get this some sort of awards season buzz, whenever it arrives. Which probably won’t be for a while, because THR adds that the project currently has no start date.

While Waithe wrote the most recent version of the script, the idea hails from Duane Adler, writer of Save the Last Dance and the creator of the Step Up franchise. The project is set up at Universal, and senior executive vice president of production Erik Baiers and senior vice president of production Sara Scott are overseeing the film. George Tillman Jr. and Robert Teitel, who worked on The Hate U Give, will produce for their State Street Pictures. Waithe will executive produce with State Street’s Jay Marcus. Gandja Monteiro will direct.

Erivo was last seen in the film Harriet and the HBO series The Outsider. She’s next set to appear in the long-delayed Doug Liman sci-fi film Chaos Walking, due out next year.

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