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.
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.