Zendaya to Star in A White Lie, Which She Will Produce With Reese Witherspoon

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Photo: Gotham/FilmMagic

The sisters, have you heard, are doing it for themselves. Deadline is reporting that Zendaya will star in an adaptation of Karin Tanabe’s book The Gilded Years, about the first African-American woman to graduate from Vassar College, and she will also produce the biopic alongside Reese Witherspoon. For screen, Tanabe’s work will become A White Lie, and it will tell the story of Anita Hemmings, a light-skinned black woman who passed as white so she could go to Vassar in the 1890s. Vassar did not knowingly admit any black students until 1940, and Hemmings, a descendent of slaves and the daughter of a janitor, was able to keep her race hidden until just a few weeks before graduating in 1897. The father of one of Hemmings’s roommates looked into her family’s background in Boston, and took it upon himself to out her to the faculty, which then convened a meeting with trustees to determine whether Hemmings should be permitted to graduate. A White Lie is described as a psychological thriller, which sounds like a good description for when you’re 20 years old and the dad of some girl you know starts rooting around your life to find out if you’re lying about your race.

Zendaya to Star in New Movie, Produce With Reese Witherspoon