Cynthia Erivo is to star in and produce a film based on the life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta.
The 33-year-old actress will appear in the movie based on Egbado princess who was born Omoba Aina. She was “gifted” to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England and renamed Sarah Forbes Benetta.
The Queen’s patronship put Bonetta at the center of British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny, personal suffering or the dangers of others being fundamentally suspicious of her as a strong, educated Black woman.
Erivo is producing alongside Solome Williams for her Edith’s Daughter banner with Leah Clarke, Adam Ackland and Rienkje Attoh. Development has been financed by BBC Film and Benedict Cumberbatch is an executive producer on the movie.
The filmmakers are planning for the biopic to be a celebration of Bonetta as a strategic, determined heroine who found a way to embrace her Blackness to ultimately find love and forge a path that honored her upbringing.
Walter Dean Myers’ biography At Her Majesty’s Request will be used as source material for the flick.
Erivo said: “I am excited to embark on this journey. It has taken a long time to get to a point where we can even begin to realize this dream.
“As a Nigerian British woman, to get the opportunity to tell the story of another Nigerian British woman who until now has been erased from the history books, is an honor.
“Miss Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Omoba Aina, is truly a passion of mine and I’m so pleased to have been able to find partners in the incredible women, Leah Clarke and Rienkje Attoh, to tell the story and finally give her a voice. I cannot wait to dive into her story. She is indeed the forgotten princess, forgotten no more.”