The Upper World is the as yet unreleased novel from debut author Femi Fadugba.
The film adaptation of The Upper World has been picked up and will star Oscar-nominee Daniel Kaluuya who will play the lead character ‘Esso‘ and is on board to produce and overall it will be a Netflix project.
The synopsis for the film: Esso is caught in a deadly feud and on the verge of expulsion when he realizes he has an unexpected gift: access to a world where he can see glimpses of the past and the future. A generation away, Rhia is walking to football practice in 2035, unaware that the mysterious stranger she’s about to meet desperately needs her help to avert a bullet fired 15 years ago.
Togo-born British-Nigerian, Femi Fadugba has a Master’s from Oxford University where he published in Quantum Physics and was a Thouron Scholar at UPenn. He previously worked in consulting and in solar energy and has written for the Financial Times and Huffington Post. He currently lives between Peckham and Baltimore.
Fadugba said in a statement about his inspiration for the story – “When I was at university, I wrote a quantum physics paper that got published in the same journal that Einstein shared many of his famous ideas in. It led to me receiving a national award and the unforgettable opportunity to make a speech at the House of Commons… On the same night as the speech, I came home to Peckham, where blue and white tape fenced off a crime scene on the estate. A kid had been stabbed. He was 15, tops …
“A 20-minute bus ride was all that separated those two completely different worlds. But throughout my life, I’ve also lived in places like Kigali, Somerset, Oxford, and Philadelphia, which has always made me wonder: how do I reconcile these contrasting environments I grew up in with each other? And how do I make some of the tough questions in life ‘add up’ the way they do in these equations?
“Then one day, came a mad realization – that I could combine the story of a kid from South London with the physics of time travel. And maybe even make it gripping enough that the nerds, the hustlers, the jocks (and the rest of us in between) would all want to read it,” he concluded. “And would all get it.”
Netflix Film’s vice president Tendo Nagenda said in a statement – “I can count on one hand the times I’ve connected with a novel so viscerally. It’s a rare feeling, made even more special when you also have the opportunity to bring such a story to life on film … Films can impact and expand the way people see and experience life.
“‘The Upper World’ will be one of those films. I’m neither from the place nor ‘time’ depicted in the pages of the debut novel of physicist-turned-author Femi Fadugba. However, through staggeringly skilled storytelling, I was taken on a mind-and-heart altering adventure through the book’s characters and experiences.
“I’m very fortunate to be able to work with some of the most seasoned industry veterans, but I also want to discover new voices and foster a new generation of talent. To take a chance on fresh voices like Femi who have a unique perspective and tell an unexpected story filled with exhilarating energy, wit, and mind-expanding physics.”
Kaluuya executive produced “Queen & Slim” and will soon be seen as Black Panther icon Fred Hampton in the soon to be released, Judas and the Black Messiah.
The Upper World, will be published by Penguin UK and HarperCollins US and is the first in a series of novels targeted at YA. The Upper World is set for an August 2021 release.