Sons of Anarchy writer/producer Charles Murray has signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, whose cable division Fox 21 TV Studios produced the gritty FX drama series. Under the pact, he will serve as executive producer and showrunner onStar, 20th TV’s upcoming drama created by Lee Daniels and Tom Donaghy, which was recently picked up to series by Fox for next season. Additionally, Murray will be developing his own projects for the studio.
Murray is coming off stints as executive producer on the first season of Netflix’s next Marvel series, Luke Cage and as one of the writers on A+E Networks’ upcoming Roots remake. He served as a writer/co-executive producer on the final two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, and also worked on CBS’ Criminal Minds, ABC’s Castle,NBC’s Third Watch as well as the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Haley is the author of the novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” an American family origin story based around the life of Kunta Kinte. The “Roots” remake will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating material from Haley’s novel, as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time.
“Roots” will be simulcast on A&E, History and Lifetime in 2016.
The Emmy-winning actor currently appears on NBC’s drama “Hannibal” and ABC’s half-hour comedy “Black-ish,” on which he also serves as executive producer. On the big screen, Fishburne will next be seen in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
“Roots” is described as a historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. Spanning multiple generations, the lineage begins with young Kunta Kinte who is captured in his homeland in Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history — including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation.
Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Marc Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Konner, Rosenthal, Alison McDonald, and Charles Murray are writing.
“Roots” is returning to TV next year as a big-ticket event series production to air across History, A&E Network and Lifetime next year.
Producer Will Packer and LeVar Burton, an original “Roots” cast member, are shepherding the project with Mark Wolper, son of the original producer of the 1977 ABC miniseries, David L. Wolper.
Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald and Charles Murray are on board to write the new rendition of the saga of Kunta Kinte, which follows his capture in Africa as a young man through his enslavement in colonial America. “Roots” is based on Alex Haley’s landmark novel of the same name.
“My career began with ‘Roots’ and I am proud to be a part of this new adaptation,” said Burton. “There is a huge audience of contemporary young Americans who do not know the story of ‘Roots’ or its importance. I believe now is the right time to tell this story so that we can all be reminded of its impact on our culture and identity.”
The original eight-part miniseries was a sleeper megahit for ABC that aired over consecutive nights in January 1977. There’s no word yet on how many hours the new “Roots” will run.
A&E Networks execs said producers will work closely with historians and other experts to incorporate new information about the historical period uncovered since the original book and mini were released.
“Kunta Kinte began telling his story over 200 years ago and that story went through his family lineage, to Alex Haley, to my father, and now the mantle rests with me,” said Wolper. “Like Kunta Kinte fought to tell his story over and over again, so must we.”
Said Packer: “The opportunity to present one of America’s most powerful stories to a generation that hasn’t seen it is tremendously exciting. Contemporary society needs this story and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
THINGS NEVER SAID Cast: Shanola Hampton (Kalindra Stephney), Omari Hardwick (Curtis Jackson), Elimu Nelson (Ronnie), Tamala Jones (Daphne), Michael Beach (Will Jackson), Dorian Missick (Steve),Charlayne Woodard (Charlotte), Tom Wright (Daniel) Written & Directed by: Charles Murray Rated: R Ohio Street Pictures
I might as well get out the disclosure right up front: I have known Things Never Saidwriter/director Charles Murray for well over fifteen years, and at every turn of his career (executive at Magic Johnson’s production company, television writer on Third Watch and Criminal Minds, independent filmmaker) I have rooted for him. Charles is smart, funny and more than a bit of an unapologetic iconoclast, which could only mean two things for him – career suicide or artistic success. After seeing Things Never Said, I am thrilled to report he is a creative force only beginning to mine the gifts he has to share with this world.
The story of Things Never Said is deceptively simple: Kalindra (Shanola Hampton), a young woman haunted by a miscarriage and stuck in a bad marriage to former basketball star Ronnie (Elimu Nelson), seeks an outlet through spoken-word poetry. Kal succumbs to an affair with Curtis (Omari Hardwick), a fellow poet who seems to see into her soul, but has his own heavy baggage Kal may not want to take on. While that might sound prosaic and maybe even a little pretentious (note: the poetry is extremely well-performed and relatable, so if you weren’t a poetry fan before, you will be after this), what’s special about this movie is the nuanced, complex and unpredictable ways Murray has his characters grapple with their conflicts.
At first, you don’t want Kal to cheat on her husband – she is too intelligent and creative a woman to fall for the game the sexy-but-mysterious Curtis spits at her. But then again, you also wonder why Kal is staying with the sullen, unsupportive Ronnie, who seems to be going nowhere in his life and holding her back from hers. As the layers start to unfold, you learn not only has Ronnie gone through the hardship of losing his future, but also that Kal was brought up by her mother Charlotte (Charlayne Woodard) to believe that sticking with one’s husband no matter what is what defines a woman as a good person and wife. So when Kal finally does give in to her attraction to Curtis, they have so much chemistry and tenderness and understanding between them you want her to get away with the affair… until you realize Curtis may have even less to offer Kal than Ronnie when it’s revealed he’s an ex-con and why he landed in jail in the first place.
Actress Shanola Hampton carries the organic twists and turns of this movie so beautifully it’s surprising she’s never had a major role in a film before. She has an equally able partner in Omari Hardwick, who makes you root for Curtis despite the palpable possibility he may be more trouble than he’s worth. Which, I think, is Murray’s point – no matter how much you connect to another person and no matter how they make you feel about yourself or even challenge you to become your better self – the real romance and discovery lies within knowing and healing oneself. This is the thing not said about love – it alone does not conquer all. This is the thing not said about art or creative outlets – they alone do not solve deep issues. Kalindra is not “saved” by Curtis or her poetry, but rather, they both shed light on her path to saving and healing herself from all of the preconceived notions she’s grown up on, from all the ways she’s limited herself, and from all of the abuse she’s accepted – external and internal.
Things Never Said is an important addition to African-American independent cinema and humanistic storytelling that should not be missed. Its Los Angeles run has been extended through September 19 and the film opens in Atlanta, Boston, Washington DC, and Gary, Indiana on September 13 – TODAY! Please get out and support the movie — you can get updates on other showings around the country from thingsneversaid.com or on the Things Never Said Facebook Page. Also, check out the trailer below:
The film is written and directed by Charles Murray, who is making his feature debut after a decade in television (Criminal Minds, Castle, V, Third Watch). Shanola Hampton stars as an aspiring poet in a dangerous marriage who dreams of taking her work to New York. A surprise new love (Omari Hardwick) helps her find her artistic voice. Brian “Skinny B” Lewis produced the film, which is executive produced by Nicole Elliot, Steven LaBroi and Geofrey Hildrew. Codeblack Films, the Lionsgate unit that recently acquired Sundance drama The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete, will release Things Never Said this year.
article via Deadline.com with additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson