Keke Palmer

Keke Palmer. Philosophy dress, $1,980, Barneys New York, 888.222.7639. Rue Gembon ring, $40, ruegembon.com. Hair by Cynthia Alvarez, makeup by Mari Shten.

Photograph by Victoria Stevens for W magazine.

Frankly, Keke Palmer's agent's office should have been flooded with scripts after her turn in Hustlers. It's been a while, but the 26-year-old actress has now signed on to her first starring role since that hit and it's a doozy. Palmer will star in (and is the executive producer of) Alice, a thriller about a woman of servitude who seems to be living on a plantation in the 1800s. When she escapes, she quickly discovers that the year is actually 1973. The kicker? The script is based on true events.

The film will mark the directorial debut of Krystin Ver Linden, who also wrote the script. Linden previously worked with Quintin Tarantino, but is now a quickly rising talent in her own right. She's also written biopic scripts focused on astronaut Sally Ride, blues pioneer Robert Johnson, and Black tennis champion Arthur Ashe that are all in various states of development.

While we can't find anything about the exact real story the script is based on, forms of slavery certainly existed well into modern America. Despite haven been outlawed federally in the 1867, instances of "debt slavery" or peonage were still being uncovered in parts of the deep south until at least the 1960s.

Palmer says she was attracted to the project because ultimately it's empowering. “So many films that depict this time in our history are rooted in victimization of the black female lead,” said Palmer in a statement according to Deadline. “This story is the opposite and that’s what attracted me to Krystin’s perspective. It tackles the harsh realities of slavery and white supremacy while also offering inspiration and vindication through the story of Alice’s journey. I don’t want anyone to leave the theater feeling debilitated, I want them to feel empowered.”

Though this is her first leading role since Hustlers, Palmer's star has been on the rise since the film. She currently co-hosts an extra hour of Good Morning America alongside Sara Haines and Michael Strahan. She also recently hosted Quibi's reboot of Singled Out. Oh, and she also found time to release a new single, "Thick," today as well.

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Palmer also went viral recently for her confrontation with a National Guardsmen while peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd in Los Angeles. "Stand together with the community, with society, to stop the governmental oppression. Period. We need you," she told the man.