To play the best, you need to cast the best, and that’s exactly what the A24 backed TV series De La Resistance is doing. Deadline reports that the incredibly talented singer and performer Janelle Monáe will take on the role of the legendary Josephine Baker in the upcoming project. Along with starring in the piece, Monáe will also produce on behalf of her company, Wondaland.
As if her story as a legendary entertainer wasn’t enough to receive an on-screen telling, Baker’s double life as a spy during WWII takes it to the next level. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Baker’s talents for song and dance soon became evident during her teenage years. After striking out on U.S. soil, she took her talents to Paris, where she was more than appreciated. It was here that her career would reach astronomic heights, launching her to the icon status she holds today. In 1927, she performed in Un Vent de Folie wearing only a short skirt of artificial bananas and a beaded necklace — something that was unheard of at the time and would still shock today. Celebrated as a muse to author Ernest Hemingway and artist Pablo Picasso, we think one of the coolest things she did was perform on stage with her pet cheetah, Chiquita, who would often torment the orchestra members. Okay, so maybe that’s more terrifying than cool, but that’s showbiz baby!
An outspoken advocate for the civil rights movement, Baker refused to play to segregated crowds in the U.S. and was approached by Coretta Scott King to take on a leadership role in the movement following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With all these things in mind, the series will focus its sights on Baker’s time working for the French resistance as a spy during WWII. She adored France for the life it allotted her and in return, she helped rid it of the Nazis who invaded its land. But, with such an incredible background, we’re thinking the series will also dive into some of Baker’s most well known theatrical moments.
As for Monáe, they’ve had an illustrious career in their own right. Praised for their appearances in films including Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Harriet, they’re also a celebrated musician, having nabbed a whopping eight Grammy nominations. They recently earned the title of a New York Times Best Selling author for their novel, The Memory Librarian, and will soon be seen in the Rian Johnson directed Knives Out 2. Possibly above all else, and channeling in the energy of Baker, Monáe is unapologetically themself and is an advocate for non-binary people everywhere.
Along with Monáe, De La Resistance will be executive produced by Angela Gibbs and Wondaland’s Chuck Lightning, Mikael Moore, Nate Wonder, and Dana Gills. Damien Lewis will serve as co-executive producer and production will use his upcoming book on Baker as the backbone for their story.
There is no set release date for De La Resistance, nor is there an official streamer, as the piece is currently being fought over by multiple studios.