Zendaya is teaming up with Reese Witherspoon on a new movie called A White Lie.
The actress has signed on to star in and produce the film, which will be based on Karin Tanabe’s book The Gilded Years.
Tanabe’s novel tells the true story of Anita Florence Hemmings, who was the first African–American woman to graduate from Vassar College, and who later worked at the Boston Public Library.
Though the daughter of a janitor and descendent of slaves, with her olive complexion and dark hair, Anita was able to “pass” as white when she set out to attend the prestigious Vassar during the late 1890s.
Even while she tried to distance herself from classmates, Anita eventually found herself rooming with Louise ‘Lottie’ Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.
Accordingly, Anita was pulled into Lottie’s elite world, where she found out what it was like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman and even found herself in a romance with a moneyed Harvard student – but all of her world had the potential of coming crumbling down if her secret came to light as her college graduation loomed.
Zendaya will take on the role of Anita, and will also produce with Reese and Lauren Neustadter under the Hello Sunshine production banner. Monica Beletsky is penning the script.
The 21-year-old star launched her acting career by landing the role of Rocky Blue in Disney Channel sitcom Shake It Up. She still produces and stars as K.C. Cooper Disney’s K.C. Undercover, and was most recently seen on the big screen in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Zendaya has a full slate of upcoming projects, and will soon begin promoting The Greatest Showman, which also stars Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, and is due to hit theaters in late December (17). She will also reprise her role as Michelle Jones in the Spider-Man sequel opposite Tom Holland.