Don’t Look: Janelle Monáe to star in Akela Cooper-scripted thriller

Janelle Monáe is in talks to produce and star in the thriller Don’t Look, with Akela Cooper writing from a Colin Bannon story

In the early days of January, Universal Pictures closed the first major Hollywood deal of 2024 by pre-emptively purchasing the short story package Long Lost, with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners producing alongside Simon Kinberg and Audrey Chon of Genre Pictures, as well as Scott Glassgold of Ground Control Entertainment. Colin Bannon, who previously wrote and directed the 2009 comedy Love Conquers Paul, is on board to write the screenplay adaptation of his own 50 page short story, which is said to be “in the vein of What Lies Beneath and Rosemary’s Baby“. Now Deadline reports that Universal has scored another Colin Bannon deal, pre-emptively purchasing his short story thriller package Don’t Look, with Janelle Monáe in talks to star and M3GAN, Malignant, and The Nun 2 writer Akela Cooper writing the screenplay, based on an unpublished Bannon short story.

How does the maker of a little-seen indie from 15 years ago land deals like this? Well, in addition to making Love Conquers Paul, Bannon has also gotten his scripts featured on the Black List a record seven times. Deadline notes that he has “sold the survival thriller Ultra (about an ultra marathon runner involved in a deadly race) to Tri-Star Pictures and genre spec First Ascent (set in the world of mountain climbing) to Netflix. His psychological thriller Holdout (about a woman who refuses to leave her house during a hurricane) is readying at Netflix, with Elisabeth Moss attached to star and direct.”

In addition to starring in Don’t Look, Monáe will also be producing the film through her Wondaland Pictures’ first-look deal with Universal Pictures, along with Scott Glassgold’s Ground Control. Universal’s SVP Production Development Ryan Jones and Director of Development Tony Ducret are overseeing the project for the studio.  

Monáe’s previous acting credits include Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Welcome to Marwen, Harriet, Rio 2, Lady and the Tramp, The Glorias, Antebellum, and Glass Onion. She is also a singer/songwriter with four studio albums to her name: The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady, Dirty Computer, and The Age of Pleasure.

What do you think of Janelle Monáe and Akela Cooper teaming up to tell a Colin Bannon thriller story for Universal? Share your thoughts on Don’t Look by leaving a comment below.

Janelle Monae Glass Onion
Source: Deadline

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.