Westworld's Tessa Thompson Launches Production Company, Partnership With HBO

The actor has two projects already in the works for the network.


Actor Tessa Thompson (Westworld, Avengers: Endgame) will be moving into production work with her new company, Viva Maude. According to Deadline, the production company has partnered with HBO and HBO Max on a two-year, first-look deal that will first be taking on adaptations of the books Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

"I'm beyond thrilled to officially launch my production company, Viva Maude, which has been a real passion project and labor of love over the last few years," said Thompson, via Deadline. "I'm elated to begin this partnership and to bring entertaining and impactful television projects to my friends and collaborators at HBO and HBO Max. Together we are committed to developing interesting and inclusive stories with inventive creators and to discover new voices and visionaries."

Who Fears Death is an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor's 2010 book of the same name, and has reportedly been in the pipeline with HBO since 2017--with Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin as one of the executive producers. Aïda Mashaka Croal, a writer on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, will serve as showrunner, writer, and executive producer. The book is set in post-apocalyptic Africa, where one of the few survivors, Onyesonwu, is made an outcast. According to the book's jacket text, Onyesonwu comes to terms with her newfound magic abilities and fights against "someone powerful… trying to kill her."

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies is a 2020 short story collection from author Deesha Philyaw that "explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good." The stories span four generations of characters "grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions." Philyaw is writing the adaptation.

Thompson, meanwhile, will be returning to the Thor series as Valkyrie in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, which we haven't heard much from lately but is due out 2022.

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