PRECIOUS Director Lee Daniels to Adapt Pulitzer Prize Winner ANNA IN THE TROPICS

     December 13, 2010


Lee Daniels (Precious) has signed on to direct an adaptation of Anna in the Tropics, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play by Nilo Cruz. Anna in the Tropics is inspired by Anna Karenina, and centers on a family of cigar makers in Tampa in the 1930s “whose lives are changed by the power of literature.”

Daniels will develop the script with Cruz, starting in January.  Hit the jump for a synopsis and Cruz’s remarks on the adaptation.


This lush romantic drama depicts a family of cigar makers whose loves and lives are played out against the backdrop of America in the midst of the Depression. Set in Ybor City (Tampa) in 1930, Cruz imagines the catalytic effect the arrival of a new “lector” (who reads Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to the workers as they toil in the cigar factory) has on a Cuban-American family. Cruz celebrates the search for identity in a new land. [Amazon]

In addition to the Pulitzer, Anna in the Tropics won a Steinberg Prize and two Tony nominations.  But to hear Cruz tell it to THR, theater is not the venue he had in mind for Anna.

“I always saw it as a film.  Even though I wrote is as a play, I just think it has endless possibilities as a film. The play itself is full of images and I want to open it up to the world film offers.”

Daniels has two other projects in the pipeline.  For some time, it seemed like his next film would be Selma, a film about “the pivotal Civil Rights march which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.”  However, he may put that on hold for The Butler, a biopic devoted to Eugene Allen, a servant in the White House for thirty-four years.

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