Phylicia Rashad joins Nikyatu Jusu’s thriller Nanny for Stay Gold Features And Topic Studios Pic. Sinqua Walls, Anna Diop, Michelle Monaghan, and Morgan Spector also star.
Jusu will write and make her feature directorial debut with Nanny, which is being described as a timely thriller that puts the immigrant story front and center. The film follows an undocumented nanny named Aisha (Diop). She takes a job caring for the privileged child of a wealthy Manhattan couple, Adam (Spector) and Amy (Monaghan) on the Upper East Side. She does this in the hopes that she may earn enough money to bring her six-year-old son from West Africa to live with her in New York. As Aisha prepares for the arrival of her young son, a violent supernatural presence invades her reality, threatening the “American Dream” she so painstakingly pieced together.
Rashad plays Kathleen, the matriarch of her family and is a spiritual conduits – an unofficial bridge to the supernatural. Walls will play the charismatic doorman of the fancy apartment building at which the nanny works. Monaghan is already on board as the mother of the wealthy family.
“Somali-British poet Warsan Shire states, ‘no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.’ Nanny is my attempt to make sense of the displacement, the nostalgia immigrant women carry as they forge inexorably new lives in America,” Jusu said in a statement.
“Our mothers sacrificed so much in order for us to essentially create ourselves. And though the real life horror of that sacrifice manifests in the form of living breathing monsters in Nanny, my goal is for audiences to leave our film with a sense of hopefulness. Women like my protagonist Aisha, my mother and perhaps your mothers, refused to succumb to a society never intended for their success but rather empowered themselves with a narrative of survival that equipped them to thrive, to fly, to survive.”
Topic Studios, Stay Gold Pictures and LinLay Productions had teamed up to finance and produce. Nikkia Moulterie and Stay Gold Features’ Daniela Taplin Lundberg will produce the film. Jusu will also executive produce alongside Maria Zuckerman, Ryan Heller, and Michael Bloom for Topic Studios. Rebecca Cammarata will executive produce for Stay Gold Features; Sumalee Montano, and Grace Lay of LinLay Productions.
The script landed on the 2020 Black List and was also selected for the 2019 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Lab & Summit, Sundance’s 2020 Writer’s Lab, and the 2020 Director’s Lab.
Production will begin in late June in New York City.