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How ‘Queen of Katwe’ Inspired Alicia Keys to Make Some of Her Most Personal Work — Consider This

12 January 2017 8:58 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Alicia Keys has contributed songs to dozens of soundtracks including “The Great Gatsby,” “Muscle Shoals,” “Quantum of Solace” and “Drumline.” But Mira Nair’s “Queen of Katwe,” which features a Keys original, “Back to Life,” was a different kind of project.

Keys first discovered the true story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (portrayed by Madina Nalwanga in her debut) “by a little twist of fate” in 2011, when Tim Crothers’ remarkable feature story on the budding prodigy was published by Espn’s magazine (a year later, Crothers published the book “The Queen of Katwe,” on which Nair’s film is based).

Producing partner Jeff Robinson gave the article to Keys, in hopes that they could develop it under their Big Pita, Little Pita Productions banner. While that didn’t ultimately pan out, Keys could never quite shake Mutesi’s story.

Read More: Why ‘Hidden Figures’ Is »

- Kate Erbland

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