Academy Award winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Louis Gossett Jr., along with The Help's Aunjanue Ellis and the SAW franchise's Lyriq Bent, are set to star in the mini-series adaptation of prize-winning novel The Book of Negroes. Ben Chaplin and Allan Hawco will also join the star-studded cast along with four-time Oscar nominee Jane Alexander (Kramer vs. Kramer, All the President's Men).
Selected by O Magazine as a 2010 top Summer Read with close to a million copies sold worldwide, The Book of Negroes depicts the extraordinary life journey of Aminata Diallo, an indomitable African woman who cuts a swath through a world that is predisposed to underestimate her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, before ultimately securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century.
The mini-series is co-written by multiple-award winning filmmaker Clement Virgo (The Wire, POOR BOY’S GAME) and by novelist Lawrence Hill. Virgo will also direct.
“We are thrilled to join forces with the CBC, eOne and the talented cast and creative team for this special project. Aminata and her journey symbolize the indomitable spirit of so many of our ancestors who not only survived the horrible institution of slavery, but also prevailed under trying circumstances. It is that legacy that we hope will continue to inspire our young people today,” said Loretha Jones, President of Original Programming, BET Networks.
Principal photography begins this week in South Africa, kicking off Black History Month, and continues in Nova Scotia this spring. The show is slated to air on CBC in Canada and BET Networks in the US.
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(Photos from left: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)