It was just last week we were celebrating the 20th anniversary of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which catapulted Michel Gondry into the Hollywood system with the likes of Be Kind Rewind and The Green Hornet. After the failure of that superhero tentpole, he retreated back to France, directing a handful of smaller-scale features, the latest of which, The Book of Solutions, gets meta following a filmmaker struggling with the editing of his big-budget project. Gondry is now mounting his return to Hollywood, the details of which have now been unveiled.

Deadline reports he’s directing an untitled coming-of-age musical, which is loosely inspired by the upbringing of Pharrell Williams. Set to star Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Chevalier, Waves) and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, coming off her Oscar win for The Holdovers, the Universal-backed project is set in 1977 Virginia Beach. Previously going by the title Atlantis, named after the Atlantis Apartments area where Williams was raised, the script comes from Martin Hynes (Toy Story 4) and Steven Levenson (Tick, Tick…Boom!). Attending middle school in Virginia Beach, Williams met Chad Hugo and while in high school, they formed The Neptunes and entered a high school talent show. They were signed soon after graduating and the rest is history.

Having captured the likes of Kanye West, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Talib Kweli, and Common in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party not to mention directing music videos for Wyclef Jean, Kanye West, and more, we look forward to seeing what Gondry brings to this tale of hip-hop genius. Watch Williams discuss his upbringing below as we await more details.

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