From Zimbabwe to Wakanda to Broadway, there is no one like Danai Gurira
By Denise Petski | Deadline | February 20, 2020
Black Panther and The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira has signed a two-year overall deal with ABC Studios. Under the pact, she will develop, write and produce for the studio across all platforms. Gurira is currently serving as showrunner and executive producer on Americanah, a miniseries for HBO Max which she adapted from the bestselling novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
“From Zimbabwe to Wakanda to Broadway, there is no one like Danai Gurira, said Jonnie Davis, president, ABC Studios. The scope of her talents and the breadth of her abilities are simply astonishing. We are over the moon that she has chosen to make ABC Studios her exclusive home.”
Gurira holds the distinction of being the first African female writer to have a play on Broadway and to bring the perspective of African women to mainstream theater. Her stage plays, which give voice to untold narratives, include In the Continuum, Tony-nominated Eclipsed and The Convert. Her newest play, Familiar, received its world premiere at Yale Rep and premiered in New York at Playwrights Horizons in 2016. Commissioned by Yale Rep, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Royal Court, she is a recipient of the Sam Norkin Award (2016 Drama Desk Awards), a Whiting Award as well as a Hodder Fellowship.
As an actor, Gurira starred as General Okoye in Marvel’s 2018 Oscar-winning blockbuster film Black Panther, for which she won a People’s Choice Award, an NAACP Image Award and a shared SAG Award. Later that year she reprised her role in Avengers: Infinity War and this past spring in Avengers: Endgame, which went on to become the No. 1 top-grossing film in history.
She currently stars as Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead, which remains a top-rated cable program in its 10th season.
Born in Iowa to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe, Gurira holds a Master of Fine Arts from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. An ambassador for Bono’s One campaign, she is co-founder of Almasi Arts Alliance, which works to give access and opportunity to African dramatic artists. She also is founder of Love Our Girls, which spotlights the specific challenges faced by women and girls while celebrating the courageous work by organizations seeking to make a difference. In December 2018, she was also named a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, supporting its mandate of gender equality and women’s rights.
“I am thrilled to work with Jonnie and his stellar team at ABC studios,” said Gurira. “Their commitment to the feminine perspective aligns with my goals as a storyteller. I am excited to amplify unheard voices and bring to light narratives that will tackle universal themes while they simultaneously break barriers and bring new faces, voices and influences to the screen.”
She’s repped by UTA, Suskin Management and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.