As reported by Variety, Participant and Bunya Productions are bringing the stage work to the big screen. Written by Suzie Miller, Prima Facie follows British defense lawyer Tessa who works her way from a working-class background to a rising star in the legal field. Often assigned to defend men accused of sexual assault, she dedicates her career to a system she believes in. But her whole world is thrown into question after she ends up in the witness stand. Currently playing on Broadway through July 2, Killing Eve's 2023 Tony nominee Jodie Comer plays Tessa on the Main Stem after originating the role in the West End.
Miller will adapt her work into a screenplay with BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee Susanna White directing.
“Tessa’s experience sheds such vulnerable light on the complex conversations around consent and sexual abuse and the law that surrounds it, which is all too relatable for so many and timely for all," Erivo said to Variety. “Jodie Comer’s powerhouse exploration of that struggle on Broadway is nothing short of beautiful and heart-wrenching. When I read this script I knew it was important work to do. I look forward to getting to know who Tessa is to me as Prima Facie goes from stage to screen.”
Prima Facie began years ago in the back of playwright Suzie Miller’s mind when she was a law student and then a human rights lawyer. “Once you see it, you can't unsee it. That is the reality of race, gender, and class before the law—that once you see the endemic unfairness, you can't not see it anymore. It seems to be everywhere,” she told Playbill. Learn more about how her past life as a lawyer led to her writing Prima Facie here.
The film will mark another stage-to-screen adaptation for Erivo, who is currently filming a two-part Wicked film adaptation as Elphaba.
Bunya’s Greer Simpkin, David Jowsey, and Jenny Cooney will produce the feature alongside Participant. Miller, Solome Williams and Participant’s Jeff Skoll will executive produce alongside Erivo. Robert Kessel and Elizabeth Haggard will oversee the project for Participant.