BBC Film is set to produce, in collaboration with "I, Daniel Blake" writer Paul Laverty, a biopic on the first black principal guest dancer at the Royal Opera House, Carlos Acosta. The announcement was made by The Match Factory, world sales German company, to potential buyers in Cannes earlier this week. It was also announced that the shooting of the new film will begin later this year in Cuba.


"Yuli", the name of the project, will see Carlos Acosta as himself joined by two more actors who will play his younger self. Also, the film will see the Acosta's Havana-based dance company - Acosta Danza - to perform eight contemporary pieces.

Each of them are key to the dancer's career and his success.

The story was inspired by Carlos Acosta's biography, "No way home", published in 2008, where the dancer explains how from a simple Cuban boy he became one of the most famous ballet dancers in the world.

The film will be directed by the Spanish director Ician Bollain, famous for Even The Rain (Tambien La Lluvia), a film that started the long working relationship between Bollain and Laverty. The film was also nominated to an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011.

Along BBC Film and The Match Factory, Yuli is produced by Potboilers Prods. (U.K.), Morena Films (Spain) and Mandarin (France).

Carlos Acosta

Born in 1973 in Havana, Carlos trained in the National Ballet School of Cuba.

Afterwards, he joined the Compagnia Teatro Nuovo di Torino alongside Luciana Savignano. He won several prizes and danced with different companies around the world until he joined the Royal Ballet in 1998 and changed his title in Principal Guest Artist in 2003. He performed as some of the most famous ballet protagonists such as Basilio in Don Quixote, Siegfried in Swan Lake, The Prince in the Nutcracker, and many more.

He left the Royal Opera House in 2016, performing in Carmen, which he also choreographed.

Carlos always felt close the culture of his country of origin, and that inspired a show, Tocororo - A Cuban Tale, that broke the box office records at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Throughout his career he won several prizes and awards, including an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2007, and an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2014 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. In the same year, Acosta was also appointed CBE for services to ballet by Queen Elisabeth II.