Taika Waititi in Talks to Direct New Movie From American Fiction Author

James, which tells the story of Huckleberry Finn from the perspective of Jim, is in development with Steven Spielberg producing.

Taika Waititi is in talks to direct James, a movie based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Percival Everett. Everett's 2001 novel Erasure was adapted into last year's film American Fiction, which starred The Batman's Jeffrey Wright and written and directed by Watchmen's Cord Jefferson. James is a retelling of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as told from the perspective of Jim, the enslaved man who accompanied Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer on their adventures. This is the latest in a series of movies based on true stories and iconic properties from Waititi, who most recently directed Next Goal Wins.

Waititi, who directed both Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder, won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2019 for Jojo Rabbit. American Fiction similarly won the Best Adapted Screenplay back in March.

Everett, too, has been celebrated for his work. The author earned the NBCC Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Windham-Campbell Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction during the course of his writing career.

Steven Spielberg and Everett are both expected to serve as producers on the film. Variety first reported the talks with Waititi. Everett will write the screenplay and will serve as executive producer, while production will reportedly be handled through Spielberg's Amblin.

The book's official synopsis (via publisher Doubleday reads, "While many narrative set pieces of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remain in place…Jim's agency, intelligence and compassion are shown in a radically new light."

The story of Huckleberry Finn has been adapted for the screen a number of times, including some with some pretty wild variations. A musical version of Mark Twain's companion novel Tom Sawyer was released in 1973 that starred Jodie Foster as Becky Thatcher and future Superman: The Movie actor Jeff East as Huck. Even in novel form, James isn't the first time the story has been reinvented to be told from another point of view; in 2007, John Clinch wrote Finn: A Novel, told from the perspective of Huckleberry Finn's drunken, abusive father.