‘Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is set to star opposite Dakota Fanning in the Zeresenay Berhane Mehari-directed Sweetness In The Belly based on the bestselling novel by Camilla Gibb.
Adapted for the screen by Laura Phillips (Combat Hospital, Peak Practice), the film is a powerful love story that explores an immigrant’s life from a unique perspective. In a story that is relevant to today’s cultural landscape, Fanning stars Lilly Abdal (a role which Saoirse Ronan was originally attached), who was orphaned in Africa as a child and escaped to England as a refugee, fleeing civil war. Lost in this cold new world, Lilly embraces the immigrant community in London, attempting to reunite people with their scattered families. However, Lilly’s mission isn’t purely selfless: A passionate lost love affair is revealed between Lilly and Aziz (Abdul-Mateen II), an idealistic doctor. But can Lilly let go of the past?
Sweetness In The Belly was developed by Sienna Films and is produced by Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny (How She Move, Touch of Pink, New Waterford Girl) of Sienna Films together with Alan Moloney (Mary Shelley, Brooklyn, Breakfast on Pluto, Intermission) and Susan Mullen (Brooklyn, Maudie) of Parallel Films. Mehret Mandefro (Little White Lie, Difret) and Adrian Sturges (The Enfield Haunting, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) are executive producers along with Laura Bickford (Che, Traffic) and Fiona Druckenmiller (Beasts of No Nation).
HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales and distribution. Entertainment One will distribute the film in Canada. The film is produced with the support of Telefilm Canada, Screen Ireland, the Ontario Media Development Corporation and Eurimages.
Sweetness In The Belly is one of many on Abdul-Mateen’s diverse slate of roles as his star continues to rise with high-profile projects. He can be seen next as Black Manta in James Wan’s highly anticipated comic book pic Aquaman as well as Jordan Peele’s upcoming Us at Universal. He will also star in Joe Robert Cole’s All Day and a Night for Netflix. He can also be seen in Damon Lindelof’s forthcoming television adaptation of the award-winning DC comic series Watchmen at HBO.
His credits also include the Netflix film First Match, the Academy Award-nominated movie musical The Greatest Showman as well as the mystery The Vanishing of Sidney Hall which featured Abdul-Mateen alongside Dakota Fanning’s sister Elle.
Abdul-Mateen II is repped by Gersh, Anonymous Content and Bloom Hergott.’