Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar for 12 Years A Slave and then immediately went into high profile work - Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Jungle Book - where she was hidden behind a mess of pixels. Besides the pointlessness of hiding a face as beautiful as hers, many bristled at the idea that the most celebrated young black actress of the moment was being turned into a cartoon as opposed to having her blackness put onscreen. And so it will probably make many people happy that for her next movie, Queen of Katwe, Lupita is back to being her normal human self again.
The film is about a Ugandan woman who discovers that she's a chess prodigy and a champ in the making. "African lady chess champion" doesn't sound like an obvious blockbuster, but it fits in perfectly with Disney's recent Inspirational Competitive Movies With International Flavors series, which include MIllion Dollar Arm and McFarlane, USA. Maybe there can be a Disney Inspirational Competition shared universe, and Lupita can meet Jon Hamm and Kevin Costner!
Anyway, the movie looks fine. I enjoy these movies on their own treacly terms, at least until they get to the standard overwrought sentimentality in act three. Queen of Katwe is directed by Mira Nair, though, and she's a legit filmmaker who has tackled real stuff in the past. I'm hoping that she can break free of the shackles of the genre.
Now there's a trailer and you can see for yourself just what Queen of Katwe is all about.