VIS Social Impact, Paramount’s new studio division focused on developing content around climate, equity and health issues, has inked its first-ever first-look deal with South African actress Thuso Mbedu.
Under the terms of the agreement, Mbedu will create, develop, and produce exclusive scripted and documentary programming focused on VIS Social Impact’s key pillars of equity, climate and health, for Paramount+ outside the US.
Led by Georgia Arnold, SVP of social responsibility, the division was set up last year, as part of the company’s Content for Change initiative, which aims to counteract racism, bias, stereotypes and hate through the content it creates.
Mbedu is the star of Sony’s upcoming The Woman King, opposite Viola Davis, and also held the lead role in Amazon Prime Video’s fantasy historical drama The Underground Railroad, which which made her the first South African leading woman of a US television series.
“Having been privileged to work with Thuso on MTV Shuga: Down South, I’ve seen her powerful creative talent first-hand; I’m in no doubt that her skill and expertise will help our studio develop ground-breaking social impact-driven content with worldwide appeal,” said Arnold.
“As Africans we have so many unique and diverse cultures, histories and experiences that the world needs to see and hear about and, as an African woman, to get an opportunity to tell stories that will uplift, empower and shape new ways of thinking and seeing the world, is absolutely amazing,” commented Mbedu.