Following a spectacular debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won writer and director Justin Simien the coveted Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent, Dear White People went on to further acclaim. Simien nabbed the Best First Screenplay trophy at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards, while star Tessa Thompson scored some much-deserved praise for her performance as Sam White, the movie’s biracial protagonist. While promoting Dear White People‘s theatrical run, Simien discussed his hope that he could turn the satirical project into a television show — something akin to a modern version of the late ’80s, early ’90s series A Different World. Thanks to Netflix, that’s precisely what Simien will get to do.
According to Deadline, Netflix has ordered 10 episodes of a half-hour comedy series based on Dear White People. How close the new show will remain to the film remains to be seen, but considering the latter’s initial impact and recent events in the United States of America’s “post-racial” society, the timing for such a project is perfect. Simien admitted as much in the official press release:
“During the film’s release, I had the pleasure to speak with hundreds of students and faculty across a variety of college campuses dealing with these very issues in real time,” Simien said. “I’m so grateful to have this platform — not only to give a voice to those too often unheard in our culture, but to also tell great stories from new points of views.”
The Dear White People series will begin filming sometime in late 2016, after which it will debut on Netflix in 2017. The release didn’t specify a particular timetable, nor did it reveal if casting and other major pre-production elements were already under way. Considering Netflix’s apparent excitement for the new project, however, it’s a sure bet that Simien and his executive producing partner, Devon Shepard (House of Lies) are already hard at work.
Hopefully Dear White People will live up to Simien’s inspiration, A Different World, and deliver a show just as good as its cinematic predecessor. That, and feed lines to another young Dean Cain-like actor to make him look good while playing an asshole.