Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’ Adaptation in the Works at Steve Coogan’s Production Company

Leo Barraclough
Variety

Steve Coogan’s production company Baby Cow, whose credits include Oscar-nominated movie “Philomena,” has acquired the TV adaptation rights to Zadie Smith’s latest novel “Swing Time.” It is the company’s first significant acquisition since Christine Langan, ex-head of BBC Films, took over as CEO this month.

Smith, best known as the author of “White Teeth,” will adapt the book herself, alongside Nick Laird. The rights were acquired from Katie Haines at The Agency, in association with Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge & White.

Langan said: “Zadie Smith is the voice of a generation and ‘Swing Time’ is a thrillingly ambitious story of friendship, rivalry and fame. We’re delighted and honored at Baby Cow to be developing such a unique project, and we can’t wait to share it with TV audiences everywhere.”

The novel, published this week, has elicited glowing reviews. The New York Times described it as “a novel that showcases its author’s formidable talents,” while the Sunday Telegraph wrote, “Smith packs more intelligence, humor and sheer energy into any given scene than anyone else of her generation.”

“Swing Time,” which moves from London to West Africa, is described in a statement as “a story about friendship, music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them… it is an exuberant dance to the rhythm of time.”

It follows two girls who dream of being dancers, but only one has talent. “The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe or makes a person truly free,” the statement continues. “It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten either.”

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