Entertainment

Lupita Nyong’o Is Filming A Movie About A Chess Champion From Uganda

Queen of Katwe will chronicle the life of Phiona Mutesi, a chess prodigy who’s been slaying competitors left and right for the past 10 years. Nyong’o has been cast as her mother and David Oyelowo is playing Mutesi’s coach.

1. Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o is currently in Uganda shooting a new movie, Queen of Katwe, produced by Disney and directed by Mira Nair.

2. Queen of Katwe tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a 19-year-old chess prodigy from a poor neighborhood in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

3. Mutesi’s background is one of both struggle and triumph that is sure to give you all the girl power feels.

Isaac Kasamani / Getty Images

Phiona Mutesi, 18, at left, killing it.

4. In 1999, when Mutesi was a toddler, her father died of AIDS, and her family struggled to make ends meet after his death.

Isaac Kasamani / Getty Images

The Guardian reported that Mutesi was first introduced to the game in 2005, when she made regular visits to the local church, which invited children to learn to play chess in exchange for a serving of porridge. There, she met Robert Katende, who would become her coach and mentor as she ascended the ranks of prestigious chess competitions.

5. NBD, but in 2009, Mutesi won the International Children’s Chess Competition in South Sudan. She competed in the Chess Olympiad in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, the following year, and was crowned the Ugandan National Champion in chess in 2011.

Isaac Kasamani / Getty Images

Here’s Mutesi with Nair and Nyong’o, reaching peak levels of brown girl brilliance in a single photo.

6. In Queen of Katwe, Nyong’o plays Harriet Mutesi, Phiona’s mother.

Robert Katende breaks coconut on first day shooting #queenofkatwe w remarkable #lupitanyong'o in my beloved Kampala

— Mira Nair (@MiraPagliNair)

7. Nyong’o and Queen of Katwe director Nair actually go waaay back! In 2004, Nair founded Maisha Film Lab, a non-profit organization designed to help young African filmmakers tell their own stories. Guess who joined the lab a year later, in 2005?

8. Queen Lupita! First as a production student and then she was quickly noticed for her acting skills and has been slaying ever since.

9. And if that casting wasn’t epic enough, in Queen of Katwe, Katende is played by Selma star David Oyelowo.

10. Queen of Katwe is being shot in Uganda and South Africa, and is set to premiere next year.

A representative for Disney did not respond to BuzzFeed’s request for more information.

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