DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Jayme Lawson, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Masali Baduza are joining TriStar’s Gina Prince-Bythewood directed historical African epic The Woman King which stars Oscar winner Viola Davis.
“We are so lucky to catch these three rising phenoms who are bringing their incredible passion and talent to this beautiful ensemble,” said Prince-Bythewood.
The pic is based on true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The story follows Nanisca (Davis), General of the all-female military unit, and Nawi (International Emmy nominated Thuso Mbedu), an ambitious recruit, who together fought enemies who violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for. Lawson will play the ambitious and cunning head wife to Dahomey’s ruler, King Ghezo, played by John Boyega. As the warrior cast is being rounded out, Adrienne Warren and Sheila Atim will play warriors in Nanisca’s elite unit.
Dana Stevens wrote the original screenplay off her draft with Prince-Bythewood. Pic is being produced by Oscar winner Cathy Schulman though her Welle Entertainment. Schulman is currently the EP and show runner of Showtime’s upcoming series The First Lady, which also stars Davis and Lawson as Michelle Obama.
Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions and Maria Bello of Jack Blue Productions are also producing.
Lawson made her feature film debut in Farewell Amor last year and she’ll next appear in Matt Reeves’ The Batman as Bella Real opposite Robert Pattinson.
Fiennes Tiffin broke out in the box office hit After trilogy, based on the Anna Todd novels. His other film credits include The Silencing, starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Annabelle Wallis and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. He will next be seen in First Love, opposite Diane Kruger and Jeffrey Donovan.
South African actress Baduza most recently starred in the BBC’s critically acclaimed dystopian drama Noughts + Crosses, based on Malorie Blackman’s best-selling YA novels. She also starred in South African crime thriller Trackers, which was M-Net’s top performing show for 2019.
Lawson is repped by UTA and Gang Tyre. Fiennes Tiffin is repped by ICM Partners, Vybe Trybe, The Artists Partnership in the UK, and Ziffren Brittenham. Baduza is repped by ICM Partners, The Artists Partnership and Artistes Personal Management.
Head to StyleCaster‘s website to read the whole interview.
STYLECASTER – For actors Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, the end of the After franchise is bittersweet. “It’s bitter because it’s sad to not be able to work with these people again and have to step out of the shoes of the character you’ve played across four movies,” Langford tells STYLECASTER. “But it’s sweet because I’m glad we were able to finish these movies for the fans. Hopefully we’ve made something that lasts and that they’re happy with.”
Langford, 24, and Tiffin, 23, play Tessa Young and Hardin Scott respectively in the After franchise, which releases its third of four movies, After We Fell, on September 30, 2021. (The franchise’s last movie, After Ever Happy, finished filming in December 2020 and is set to be released in 2022.) The movies are based on Anna Todd’s books of the same title, which were adapted from a Harry Styles fanfiction she wrote on Wattpad in 2013. Though Tiffin’s character, Hardin, is inspired by Styles, he made the conscious effort not to base his performance on the One Direction member. “When we first started, I detached the Harry Styles aspect for myself,” he says. “Harry Styles and One Direction are the inspiration, but Anna has written this crazy, amazing world of life that no longer needs them as inspiration because the characters are so well-rounded. I didn’t need to draw any external inspiration from him by the time we got through the books to the script to Hardin’s character.”
Though Tiffin didn’t relate the role to Styles, he did meet him once at the 2019 Met Gala, where Styles was a co-chair. While they didn’t talk about After, Tiffin believes that Styles gave him a “knowing look.” “I shook his hand, and there was a kind of thing,” Tiffin says. “We didn’t have the opportunity to talk because it was at the entrance, and it was quite full, but I feel like there was a little thing in the eyes of, like, we both knew. There was a knowing look. I haven’t spoken to him in detail about it. I hope that happens sometime.”
Ahead, Langford and Tiffin talked to STYLECASTER about how they were cast in the After franchise, what they took from the set of the last movie, and whether fans can expect them in the upcoming After prequel and spinoff about teenage Hardin, and his and Tessa’s kids in the future.
JL: What I remember from the audition is being really busy that week with a ton of other auditions and not thinking twice about it, whereas usually I’m very careful. It’s funny how stuff happens like that. Originally, I didn’t audition for Tessa. I auditioned for another character. You audition for a lot of roles in the same week. One day you’re a mermaid, the next day you’re doing a comedy. I don’t think [switching characters] was really a challenge. I was just flattered to be asked because when I read the script and the book, I felt a lot more connected to Tessa than the other character. I was excited to have the opportunity to do it because it felt right.”
HFT: “I was doing a bunch of auditions. The first After audition, I remember I had loads that week. I had four or five in the space of those three days. They were all getting jumbled up in my head. I was just smashing them out, almost thinking like, ‘I could be doing these better if I had more time.’ I did a callback, and there were a few people on the Zoom. I did one more, and they said, ‘We’ll fly you out for a chemistry read.’ They flew me out to L.A. I read with someone who wasn’t Jo, but in front of Anna and a bunch of producers. Then they informally offered me the role. I went back to London, and both my agents were there at the time. They sat me down and said, ‘Sorry, you didn’t get the role,’ and 10 seconds later, they were like, ‘I’m joking. You did. You fly out in two weeks.’ Then it was just super overwhelming and all the emotions in the world.”
On if they expected the After franchise to be as big as it is
JL: “I didn’t know. I actually remember reading for a friend who auditioned for Tessa a month beforehand. I was like, ‘What’s this?’ She’s like, ‘Oh, it’s this romance. It’s based on these books, and these books are huge.’ I was like, ‘Oh.’ Then the more involved I got in the process, the more people told me and explained how large this fanbase was and how big these books were. It was something I definitely learned along the way.”
HFT: “I remember a friend saying to me, ‘Are you sure you’re ready for this?’ And I was like, ‘No. I’m not sure. But how do I know? And if I’m not, what am I going to do?’ That’s what happened. I remember Anna and [After director] Jenny [Gage] both saying, ‘Are you aware of how big this is going to be?’ I was almost swatting it away like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be fine. I’ll just take it one day at a time.’ Regardless of the warnings, I was still surprised and overwhelmed. It took a bit of time to adjust to, but now, I’m super happy, grateful and feel nothing but support from the fans and the situation I’m in.”
On how their character is different in After We Fell versus the first two movies
JL: “She’s older in the third movie than the first two films. She’s learning about herself. She’s developed her agency, her sexuality, her identity. She’s coming into her own as a young woman. Even how she’s acting in this relationship is changing.”
HFT: “He’s been trying from the start to be better. Well, I guess more from the second half toward the end of the first one. But he’s definitely making an effort and he’s getting there. But the guy can’t catch a break. He is obviously so troubled and has his own things to deal with, but he’s not being presented with an easy path to walk to overcome them. The patience Tessa has with him is fundamental to their relationship and going where they want to go.”
On how Tessa’s dad affects her relationship with Hardin
JL: “She hasn’t seen her father in 10 years, so him coming into her life is all of a sudden a lot to handle. She’s not in a position where she can handle it. She’s about to move to Seattle and start an internship. She has a lot going on. The way it’s affecting her, the emotional weight of that and all this stuff she’s internally struggling with adds pressure to the relationship. It’s another obstacle they have to deal with. They’re never given an easy run. There’s always something happening and getting in the way.”
Hero Fiennes Tiffin attended the Dior Spring/Summer 2022 show today, sporting a full look from Kim Jones’ latest collection
British model and actor Hero Fiennes Tiffin is a burgeoning darling of the global fashion scene. The 23-year-old former Harry Potter talent is a regular on the front row at brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, while he has landed starring roles in campaigns with Dolce & Gabbana, Woolrich and Oliver Peoples.
No surprise, then, that he was one of a select few to attend Kim Jones’ Dior Spring/Summer 2022 collection unveiling. Having cemented his place as a friend of the brand in recent seasons (he also attended Jones’ Dior Fall 2020 show, alongside Kim Kardashian, Evan Mock and David Beckham, in Miami at the end of 2019), Fiennes Tiffin was dressed in pieces from the Parisian house’s latest collection for last week’s show.
Speaking exclusively to GQ, Fiennes Tiffin said, “Wearing Dior is a pleasure. You can really feel the quality of the clothes. I feel comfortable, composed and ready to put my best foot forward.” For the show, which included a collaboration with Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack brand, the young actor slipped into a toned-down outfit that played into his own relaxed style. Consisting of a pastel-pink logo-detailed hoodie and a pair of slim-fit trousers, he described the look as “exactly the kind of thing I would have in my own wardrobe”.
On his feet were a pair of Jones’ sleek monogrammed B27 sneakers, which were unveiled last year and have become a signature style for Dior. Meanwhile, his fingers were adorned with shiny trinkets designed by Dior’s jewellery collaborator Yoon Ahn, the cofounder of label Ambush, for Jones’ Winter 2021 collection.
“Kim Jones doesn’t miss,” Fiennes Tiffin continued. “His designs are always so clean and I really love the attention to detail, even on the smallest scale. That’s often overlooked, but it makes all the difference.”
Exclusively from Deadline:
Diane Kruger, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Jeffrey Donovan and Sydney Park have joined romantic drama First Love from writer/director A.J. Edwards. Produced by Henry Kittredge, Lucas Jarach, Nadine de Barros and Edwards, the film is currently in production in LA. Kruger serves as an executive producer and De Barros’ Fortitude International is fully financing.
The story is described as a poignant look at a young man’s difficult entry into adulthood. First Love follows Jim (the After franchise’s Fiennes Tiffin), a senior in high school who experiences the highs and lows of his first love with Ann (The Walking Dead’s Park). At the same time, Jim’s parents, played by Cannes Best Actress winner Kruger and Donovan (Honest Thief, Wrath Of Man), are dealing with the familial fallout spurred by the financial crisis of 2008.
Fiennes Tiffin broke out in the first two After films which have grossed $118M worldwide. A third and fourth movie based on the Anna Todd novels are in the works. In The Fade and Inglourious Basterds‘ Kruger has the Simon Kinberg-helmed female action ensemble The 355 coming out in early 2022. Burn Notice alum Donovan is currently co-starring in Guy Ritchie’s Wrath Of Man which has grossed over $71M globally and continues overseas rollout through the summer. Park recently appeared in the Amy Poehler-directed Netflix title Moxie.
Says De Barros, “I’m thrilled that Fortitude is not only backing A.J.’s poignant and insightful vision of love and the American family, but also to be working with such an international ensemble of great talent, led by Diane Kruger, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Sydney Park and Jeffrey Donovan.”
Fortitude recently wrapped shooting on Mack & Rita, starring Diane Keaton, and Shriver, starring Kate Hudson, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and Zach Braff.