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Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix documentary sounds royally, royally good

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Moya Crockett
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The Oscar-nominated director is working on a film about the life of Prince.

Ever since her 2010 debut feature film I Will Follow, which told the story of a successful artist reflecting on life after her aunt’s death, Ava DuVernay has shown herself to be one of the world’s most interesting and unpredictable filmmakers. She’s helmed huge Disney blockbusters (A Wrinkle in Time), Oscar-winning historical movies (Selma) and critically-acclaimed TV dramas (Queen Sugar) – and has never missed a chance to provide a platform for other women directors along the way.

And DuVernay’s latest project sounds like one of her most exciting yet. The producer and director is currently working on a Netflix documentary about Prince – and she has the full blessing of the notoriously private late artist’s estate.

The documentary will cover Prince’s entire life, from his childhood in Minneapolis to his ascension to world superstardom and his eventual accidental overdose from painkillers in 2016.

“Prince was a genius and a joy and a jolt to the senses,” DuVernay told Deadline. “He was like no other.

“He shattered every preconceived notion, smashed every boundary, shared everything in his heart through his music.”

Prince on stage in California in 1985

Prince’s estate specifically requested DuVernay to direct the documentary, and provided her with interviews, archival footage, photos, recordings and unreleased material.

Not only that, but Prince himself reached out to the filmmaker about the possibility of them working together on a project before he died – suggesting that he’d be more than happy for her to take the reins on a film about his life.

DuVernay said she was “honoured” to be asked to work on the documentary, “and grateful for the opportunity entrusted to me by the estate.”

“The only way I know how to make this film is with love,” she said. “And with great care.”

DuVernay photographed for Stylist in March 2018 with the Wrinkle in Time cast: Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling

This isn’t the only project DuVernay has in the works at Netflix. She is also currently working on a drama series about the Central Park Five, a group of young men of colour who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in New York City in 1989.

Donald Trump famously called for the five men to get the death penalty, and continued to insist they were guilty on the presidential campaign trail in 2016 – more than a decade after they were exonerated.

“The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades,” DuVernay said.

“In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of colour who were met with injustice at every turn – from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States.”

Images: Getty Images

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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