Netflix, Forest Whitaker Team for ‘Hello, Universe’ Movie

Netflix is teaming up with Forest Whitaker to produce a live-action flick titled ‘Hello, Universe.’ The family movie is based on the 2018 Newbery Award winner and New York Times bestselling novel of the same name by Erin Entrada Kelly, reports THR. The novel is adapted by playwright and screenwriter Michael Golamco, who is known for ‘Always Be My Maybe.’ Whitaker produces the movie along with Nina Yang Bongiovi on behalf of Significant Productions, which is known of ‘Fruitvale Station.’

According to Variety, the plot centers on a naive boy who is trapped at the bottom of a well after a confrontation with a bully. As the boy goes missing, his self-proclaimed crazy friend and unknowing love interest join forces to find him. The story unfolds from the points of view of four different characters, two boys and two girls. The popular novel, which discusses themes like bravery, is published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books.

The deal between Whitaker and the streaming giant was announced on Wednesday. Netflix’s live-action movie slate already features movies for kids, teens and families. Some of the promising titles in the lineup include the upcoming comedy ‘Tall Girl’ directed by Nzingha Stewart from a script by Sam Wolfson. The movie is produced by Wonderland’s McG, Mary Viola and Corey Marsh. Newcomer Ava Michelle plays the lead role in the movie alongside Luke Eisner and Griffin Gluck.

Another long-awaited title in the Netflix slate is ‘A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting,’ from director Rachel Talalay. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by author Joe Ballarini. Netflix is keen to bring more family-friendly content to its global subscriber base. After Walt Disney pulled out all their content from Netflix, it is inevitable for the streaming giant to fill the gap with a significant number of films and TV shows, both animated and live-action. Moreover, its rivals Amazon and Hulu are on hot pursuit of Netflix to catch up with its family-friendly content.

Nowadays, Whitaker is known more for his producing credits like ‘Fruitvale Station,’ the 2013 movie directed by Ryan Coogler. The movie features an ensemble cast including Michael B. Jordan, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray, and Octavia Spencer among others. Whitaker is also attached to the 2017 movie ‘Roxanne Roxanne,’ directed by Michael Larnell and starring Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali and Nia Long among others.

‘Hello, Universe’ is the first major collaboration of Whitaker, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2007 for ‘The Last King of Scotland,’ with Netflix.