Johannesburg - A+E Networks® is bringing a new adaptation of the iconic TV series Roots to a whole new generation of viewers in Africa.
Developed by HISTORY, the eight-hour event miniseries boasts a stellar cast of award-winning actors and will premiere on HISTORY from 12 June 2016.
A+E Networks will also simulcast Roots on Lifetime, to share this significant TV event with a wider audience across Africa.
Based on the bestseller by Alex Haley, Roots is an historical portrait of American slavery recounting the journey of one family’s will to survive despite enormous hardship and inhumanity. It follows the story of Kunta Kinte who is captured in his homeland in the Gambia and transported to colonial America where he’s sold into slavery. The original 1970s series propelled the issues of race and discrimination to the forefront of public consciousness across the globe.
The series features an all-star cast including: Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, South Paw) as Fiddler, Academy Award winner Anna Paquin (True Blood) as Nancy Holt; Golden Globe Award winning and Emmy Award nominated actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) as Tom Lea; Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose (Dream Girls, The Good Wife, The Princess and the Frog) as Kizzy; Chad L. Coleman (The Walking Dead, The Wire) as Mingo; Erica Tazel (Justified) as Matilda; and Derek Luke (Captain America: The First Avenger, Antwone Fisher) as Silla Ba Dibba.
Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish) plays the role of Alex Haley.
Newcomers Malachi Kirby and Regé-Jean Page (Survivor, Waterloo) play the iconic roles of Kunta Kinte and ‘Chicken George’. Malachi was handpicked by executive producers Will Packer and LeVar Burton, who played the original Kunta Kinte in the earlier version.
"A+E Networks is proud to bring this new adaptation of Roots to HISTORY in Africa. With an all-star cast, this immensely compelling and poignant historical drama is the perfect fit for HISTORY, which aims to humanise the past, reflect the present and illuminate the future. Audiences across Africa will feel the impact of Kunta Kinte’s indomitable spirit," says Heather Jones, SVP Content & Creative at A+E Networks UK.
Co-executive producer Mark Wolper said: "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. Like Kunta Kinte fought to tell his story over and over again, so must we."
The list of award-winning directors who direct various episodes includes: Mario van Peebles (Posse, New Jack City); Oscar nominee Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant, Driving Miss Daisy); Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) and Emmy Award winner Thomas Carter (Coach, Gifted Hands, The Ben Carson Story). Grammy Award winner Questlove is also on-board as the executive music producer for the production.
Watch the trailer here: