Casting Call: Americanah

Published June 13, 2014


In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

Lupita Nyong’o recently announced (via Instagram, no less) that she has acquired the rights to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s biting portrait of race in America, Americanah, and will be bringing it to the silver screen. It’s a suitable match, given her stellar performance in 12 Years a Slave and the cinematic quality of Adichie’s prose.

The novel opens on a young woman going to the hair salon. She boards a train and then takes a cab—quite a commute for a hairstyle. This is the journey she must take each time she visits the hairdresser, for she is Ifemelu, and there is no one in Princeton who knows how to manage her wild hair. She narrates the journey to nearby Trenton with a cutting, critical edge, taking mental notes to add to her blog, entitled “Raceteenth Or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known As Negroes) By A Non-American Black.”

Cut to two decades prior. High-school Ifemelu and her boyfriend Obinze plan a future together—that is, until she leaves her homeland Nigeria to pursue a fellowship at Princeton. From there, the story moves forward to the present, chronicling Ifemelu and Obinze’s transatlantic relationship and their diverging fates.

“I am deeply dissatisfied—about so many things, about injustice, about the way the world worksand in some ways, my dissatisfaction drives my storytelling,” Adichie told Interview when the novel was released last summer. The novel maintains hints of Adichie’s own story of immigration to the United States from Nigeria, though the author says her character is “more interesting” than herself.

While Nyong’o is going to star Ifemelu, rumors abound as to the rest of the casting. Click through the slideshow above to see who we think should star alongside her in next year’s adaptation.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here.