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Laurence Fishburne Is Alex Haley In ‘Roots’ Remake
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Roots Laurence Fishburne Header

Lawrence Fishburne has been cast in the small but pivotal role of Alex Haley (originally played by James Earl Jones), in Roots, the remake scheduled to be simulcast on A&E, Lifetime, and The History Channel. Haley, is the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, the basis for the miniseries, along with historical research.

Check out the press release below.

Roots spans many generations, starting with Kunta Kinte (originally played by Levar Burton), kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery in the American colonies, and chronicles the family’s many hardships through history. Burton serves as executive producer for the new series.

Fishburne has many incredible roles under his belt, including Boyz N The Hood, The Color Purple, and The Matrix. Most recently, we have seen him in Hannibal, and he will soon be seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, reprising his Man Of Steel role as Perry White.

Roots is set to air on the 3 A&E networks in 2016.

A&E press release:

ACADEMY® AWARD NOMINEE AND EMMY® AWARD WINNER LAURENCE FISHBURNE
TO STAR AS ALEX HALEY IN

ROOTS

Scripted Event Series to Simulcast on
HISTORY®, A&E and LIFETIME

New York, NY – July 1, 2015 – Academy® Award nominee and Emmy® Award winning actor Laurence Fishburne (Black-ish) is set to star as Alex Haley in the A+E Networks scripted event series ROOTS, it was announced today by Dirk Hoogstra, EVP & General Manager, HISTORY. Fishburne will play Haley, the author of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, an American family origin story based around the life of Kunta Kinte. ROOTS will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating material from Haley’s novel, as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time.

Laurence Fishburne has achieved an impressive body of work not only as an actor but also as a producer and director. In 1992, he won the Tony Award for his portrayal of Sterling Johnson in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running. The following year, his performance as Martin of the television series Tribeca, earned him an Emmy Award. In 1994, he was an Academy Award nominee as Best Actor for his portrayal of Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to do With It.

Fishburne was later an Emmy Award nominee for his portrayal of Thurgood Marshall, broadcast as an adaptation of his one-man show, Thurgood. He was also an Emmy Award nominee and an NAACP Image Award winner for his starring role in the telefilm Miss Evers’ Boys, which he executive-produced.

Some of his many other motion pictures include John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood; Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club, and Gardens of Stone, all directed by Francis Ford Coppola; Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple; Spike Lee’s School Daze; Robert Markowitz’s telefilms Decoration Day and The Tuskegee Airmen, for which he received an NAACP Image Award as well as Golden Globe, Emmy and CableACE Award nominations; The Matrix movies; Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River; Emilio Estevez’s Bobby, for which he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with his fellow actors from the ensemble.

Fishburne’s next project is the upcoming Warner Bros. film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He can currently be seen in the series Black-ish, for which he serves as executive producer. And most recently appeared in Hannibal and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

ROOTS is 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 The 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. The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit.

ROOTS is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original ROOTS. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Marc Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald, and Charles Murray are writing. Dirk Hoogstra, Arturo Interian and Michael Stiller serve as Executives in Charge of Production for HISTORY. ROOTS is distributed internationally by A+E Networks under the A+E Studios International banner.

[Source: A&E]

A&E press release of Roots:

HISTORY®, A&E AND LIFETIME GREENLIGHT

ROOTS

Event Series To Air on All Three Flagship Brands

Will Packer and Mark Wolper Set as Executive Producers and
Original Cast Member LeVar Burton Boards as Co-Executive Producer

New York, NY – April 30, 2015 – HISTORY, A&E and LIFETIME greenlight the scripted event series ROOTS for a new generation of viewers to simulcast on all three flagship brands; it was today announced by Dirk Hoogstra, EVP and General Manager, HISTORY. Will Packer (Ride Along, Think Like A Man) joins as executive producer and original ROOTS cast member and Emmy-award winning LeVar Burton boards as co-executive producer. Mark Wolper also serves as executive producer. ROOTS is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization. ROOTS is slated to air in 2016.

The classic miniseries ROOTS was a television phenomenon that had an indelible effect on American culture. A+E Networks and The Wolper Organization – the company that produced the original – are making a version of Alex Haley’s American family origin story based around the life of Kunta Kinte. Lawrence Konner (Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, Mona Lisa Smile, Planet of the Apes), Mark Rosenthal (Mona Lisa Smile, Planet of the Apes), Alison McDonald (Alpha House, Nurse Jackie) and Charles Murray (Sons of Anarchy, Luke Cage) are writing. Vickie Thomas (Hateful Eight, Top Five, 42, Django Unchained) is casting director. ROOTS will be an original, contemporary production, incorporating more material from Haley’s novel, ROOTS: The Saga of an American Family, as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time.

The networks also are already working closely with many prominent historians in the fields of African and African-American history, as well as diverse leaders from across the country, to use this powerful story to stimulate discussion and awareness about this important origin story that informs our American culture today.

ROOTS is 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 The 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. The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit.

“ROOTS was a groundbreaking television milestone that has had an enduring effect on American culture. We are privileged to be stewards of this universal story and will undertake its retelling with extreme care,” said Hoogstra. “We are proud to bring this saga to fans of the original, as well as to a new generation that will experience this powerful and poignant tale for the first time. Audiences will once again feel the impact of Kunta Kinte’s indomitable spirit.”

“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.”

“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,” said Packer.

“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.”

ROOTS is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original ROOTS. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Marc Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin Huggins are co-executive producers. Dirk Hoogstra, Julian P. Hobbs and Michael Stiller serve as Executives in Charge of Production for HISTORY. ROOTS is distributed internationally by A+E Networks under the A+E Studios International banner.

[Source: A&E]

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