Janelle Monáe Joins Universal Musical From Michel Gondry, Pharrell Williams

The high-profile cast for Universal Pictures’ forthcoming musical from Michel Gondry and Pharrell Williams has just been kicked up an octave with the addition of Janelle Monáe.

Monáe has signed on to join the cast of the coming-of-age period feature that is currently untitled. The film’s previously confirmed castmembers include Kelvin Harrison Jr., Halle Bailey, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Brian Tyree Henry and Missy Elliott.

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The project is set in Virginia Beach during the summer of 1977 and inspired by Atlantis Apartments, the neighborhood where Williams grew up. Gondry directs the musical from a script by Martin Hynes and Steven Levenson.

Producers include Williams and Mimi Valdés for I Am Other, alongside Gil Netter for Gil Netter Productions. Overseeing the movie for Universal are senior vp of production development Ryan Jones and director of production development Christine Sun.

Monáe’s previous film credits include Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Antebellum, Hidden Figures and Moonlight, and she had a role in the television series Homecoming. She is also a successful recording artist, with her fourth studio album, The Age of Pleasure, landing a nomination for album of the year at this year’s Grammys. Monáe is repped by WME, ID PR, Wondaland Management, Ziffren Brittenham and Johnson Shapiro.

Gondry has helmed such scripted features as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind and The Green Hornet, along with the music-focused documentary Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. The filmmaker won an Oscar for his work on the script for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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