Steve Conrad to Pen Film About 8-Year-Old Nigerian Chess Prodigy

Paramount Pictures has tapped Steve Conrad to pen a film about the Adewumi family, who fled Nigeria after being threatened by Boko Haram, sources tell Variety.

Trevor Noah will produce through his Day Zero Productions banner, with State Street Pictures’ George Tillman Jr. and Bob Teitel.

The drama will tell the story of a Nigerian family that escaped terrorism in their home country, sought and received asylum in America, and — against all odds — found a welcoming new home in New York. Living in a homeless center on religious asylum, their 8-year-old son, Tani, won the 2019 New York State chess championship, despite only being introduced to the game two years prior. The drama will be culled from three books about the family that will be published this spring by the HarperCollins imprint W Publishing.

Conrad is a veteran scribe whose films include “The Weather Man,” “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” He most recently wrote “Wonder,” starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay.

Noah — best known for hosting “The Daily Show” — is also currently adapting his bestselling memoir, “Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood.” The movie, set at Paramount Players, will star Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

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