The screenplay, written by Guy Hibbert (Complicit), follows the true story of Prince Seretse Khama of Bechuanaland – what would later become Botswana, and he its first President – who sparked international outrage in the 1940s when he married Ruth Williams, a white woman from London. He survived an attempted deposition from his uncle, only to face the law of South Africa – where interracial marriage was illegal – forcing him into temporary exile in 1951.
Belle starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights) and Sam Reid (‘71) as an illegitimate mixed-race member of the 18th century aristocracy and the white anti-slavery radical she would come to love. Asante will tackle similar issues of interracial relations in the upper classes in A United Kingdom – albeit on another continent and in another century.
Oyelowo will be producing alongside Rick McCallum (Star Wars: Episode I,II,III) and Pathe International. In a statement, Oyelowo professed,
Amma and Rosamund are two of the most exciting talents working in film today. I’ve worked with both of them before and so my excitement about them joining A United Kingdom stems from a knowledge of just how inspiring they are to work with and how much daring and beauty they will bring to this epic love story.
Pike previously appeared with Oyelowo in 2012’s Jack Reacher. Until production begins on AUK in October, Oyelowo will star in the single-man drama Nightingale on HBO, in Captive with Kate Mara (Fantastic Four reboot), will finish filming the animated Queen of Katwe with Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), and will begin shooting Three Seconds with Luke Evans (Dracula Untold). Pike will be starring in the thriller Return to Sender as well as filming The Bends with Joel Kinnaman (TV’s The Killing) and the WWII drama HHHH.