After closing the deal for her first spec script, The Water Man, Emma Needell is seeking production from Oprah’s Harpo Films and David Oyelowo‘s Yoruba Saxon. Disney is negotiating to bring both companies on board for the magical family drama centering on a boy trying to save his dying mother.
In Needell’s script, the young protagonist, Gunner, seeks out a fantastical figure called the Water Man, believed to be able to overcome death, in order to save his dying mother. Gunner and his father Amos had never had the best relationship before Gunner ran away, and now they must come together and fix their relationship if Amos is ever to find Gunner. Emily Needell has worked with writer-directors before, such as Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, but this is her first project on her own in the “big leagues.”
Disney is also seeking David Oyelowo to star in the movie while producing alongside Oprah, reprising the collaboration they first made on Selma. Oyelowo has several projects in post-production coming out this year, including Nina and Five Nights in Maine, as well as some projects he’s just starting, including A United Kingdom and Queen of Katwe. Oprah, meanwhile, has fewer projects on her plate, but these include two television credits, Queen Sugar and Oprah’s Master Class: Civil Rights Special, both as executive director.
The Water Man, as it is still in negotiations for producers, has no set release date.