Netflix is Making a Rihanna Movie Based on a Tumblr Meme

Three years ago, a photograph of Grammy-winning pop star Rihanna and Oscar-winning Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyongo’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) watching a Miu Miu fashion show in Paris went viral. The picture looked straight out of a heavily stylized big-budget film, inspiring Tumblr user elizabitchtaylor to repost the image after adding the caption “They look like they’re in a heist movie with Rihanna as the tough-as-nails leader/master thief and Lupita as the genius computer hacker.”

In what is surely a sign of the times, that Tumblr image and the ensuing years-long flurry of retweets have resulted in Netflix picking up the rights to produce a film based on the exact premise suggest by elizabitchtaylor. See, kids? Those tweets really do have consequences.

Entertainment Weekly broke the story after a lengthy negotiation was settled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film will center around Rihanna’s character, a beautiful and charismatic scammer, and Nyongo’o’s, the brains behind the pair’s heists. Details are still scarce, but the film already has some serious name power behind it. Director Ava DuVernay (Selma) has signed on to direct, while Issa Rae (Insecure) is currently penning the screenplay. Netflix has yet to issue a statement about the project, but both DuVernay and Rae have confirmed the production on Twitter. Already, critics are hailing the announcement, saying it will bring much-needed diversity to the streaming world.

This latest creative decision by Netflix shows that the streaming service isn’t afraid of testing out new ideas. So far, that strategy has paid off for the company, whose original content is consistently rated above that of its competitors. No date has been set for the film, but a screenplay is reportedly in the works.

And yes, in case you’re wondering, elizabitchtaylor will receive a writing credit of some kind.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley

Brett lives at the foot of the ancient Appalachian mountains in Asheville, North Carolina and writes about technology, science, and culture.
Brett Tingley

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