Matthew A. Cherry won the Academy Award for Best Original Short for his 2019 short film Hair Love (which he wrote, produced, and directed) and soon he’ll be expanding on that story in a 2D animated series on HBO. But that isn’t the only animated project Cherry will be working on. The NFL player-turned-filmmaker has now lined up a King Tut movie to direct at Sony Pictures Animation, which will mark the first animated feature film of his career.
Variety reports that Matthew A. Cherry will direct Tut, a film about the Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun that’s being described as “an afro-futuristic, coming-of-age story”. Cherry cooked up the idea with his frequent collaborator Monica A. Young (Hair Love, The Last Fall), and “the film will take audiences on a journey through ancient Egypt and celebrate a culture that introduced the world to countless modern conventions and technologies.” I’ve never thought about King Tut through the lens of afro-futurism, but that sounds like a really cool, potentially eye-opening prospect, and I’m excited to see what Cherry does with that story.
We’ve seen pharaohs in animation before – I’m thinking specifically of Brenda Chapman’s The Prince of Egypt – but it’s been a good long while since 1998. And considering the visual dynamism and tactile textures that Cherry brought to Hair Love, the prospect of him whisking us back into the world of ancient Egypt sounds like it could be an opportunity for him to push the stylistic envelope even farther.
In a statement, Cherry said that he was “beyond excited to explore the magical world of ancient Egypt through the eyes of its youngest ruler, King Tut. I’ve always wanted to dive deeper into the legend of the boy king and we can’t think of better partners to embark upon this journey with than Kristine Belson, Karen Toliver, and the great people at Sony Pictures Animation.”
Belson, the president of Sony Pictures Animation, worked with Cherry on his Hair Love short and says of this project: “Matthew has a bold and modern take on this story rarely told, filled with magic, music, and powerful themes — and we’re thrilled that we get to go on this adventure together.”
Outside of animation, Cherry has a live-action heist comedy called The Come Up in the works with Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Jermaine Fowler (Sorry to Bother You), and the Lucas Brothers (22 Jump Street) lined up to star.