EXCLUSIVE: Pearl Thusi to star in Netflix's first original series in Africa
IOL Entertainment can exclusively reveal that Netflix will be collaborating with the stars of the South African film "Catching Feelings," Pearl Thusi and Kagiso Lediga, on its first-ever African original series.
The Netflix original series, titled "Queen Sono," will see Pearl take on the role of a highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life.
The series will be created by director, Kagiso Lediga and executive producer Tamsin Andersson.
IOL Entertainment had the opportunity to chat with Erik Barmack and Kelly Luegenbiehl, the team responsible for Netflix's international originals, about the upcoming show and their plans to produce more Afrocentric content.
Kelly, Netflix's Vice President of International Originals for Europe and Africa, revealed that they are excited to collaborate with Kagiso and Pearl. "We love the team behind the show, [and] we're passionate about coming in and doing something that feels fresh and different. It's really exciting for us," she said. "Their point of view and creating a strong female character was really something that also really drew us to it.
"It [Queen Sono] will also have dramatic elements, a bit of humour and be very character driven. There's a lot of love and passion that they're putting into this project that we're excited to bring to the screen."
Erik, Netflix's Vice President of International Originals, added: "Taking talent like this and telling stories to the rest of the world puts Pearl in the same category as other strong female characters like Claire Underwood in "House of Cards" and Jessica Jones."
Erik also revealed that "Queen Sono" is only the first of many productions they would like to do in Africa.
"Over time our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we're moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content," he said.
Kelly added that Netflix hopes to give content creators an opportunity to tell their stories to a global audience.
"Netflix also wants to be a place where local content creators can tell their stories to a global audience. So our goal is really to help facilitate that for creators [and] to give them an opportunity they wouldn't have otherwise had," she said.
Kagiso said he is excited to "kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world".
"We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe "Queen Sono" will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world."
"Queen Sono" is expected to launch in 190 countries in 2019.