Queen Sugar's Journey From Page to Screen
OWN's new drama Queen Sugar is based on the novel Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile. The adaptation journey began when Oprah Winfrey handed the book to the show's creator and executive producer Ava DuVernay while the two were sitting on Oprah's porch. She asked her to give it a read and see if she sees something important there. The next time they discussed it, Ava says she said, "Yeah, I think there's something there."
"Natalie Baszile, the author of Queen Sugar, was just very generous in allowing me to use kind of the kernel, the nugget of the book, the seed of the book, and to let my imagination roam," Ava says. "She was so gracious in allowing me to to get in and do what we find in hip hop where you have artists that are re-interpreting other music, you know? You make a beat, you remix it and you create something new out of something that already was."
"You're going to get the Bordelon family, and they live in St. Josephine, Louisiana, but a lot of the details of the characters have been changed, new characters have been added," Ava says. "It's really just the idea that I read that book and loved the sense of place and sense of family, and so, you have to take a book that might be two hours it's telling in a linear way and say, 'This has to be 13 hours in one season and hopefully multiple seasons.' It has to be expanded, and so you have to have a place to go. So, new characters, new storylines, new backstories, but all still in St. Josephine with this beautiful Bordelon family trying to find themselves in each other."
Tune in for the two-night series premiere Tuesday, September 6, and Wednesday, September 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.