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John Ridley and Idris Elba team up for “Guerrilla” on Showtime

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Academy Award-winner John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave) will write, direct and executive produce Guerrilla, a new six-part limited series set to air on Showtime.

The limited series centers on a couple whose passion propels them into making the leap from political activism to radical militancy. Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Idris Elba (Luther, Beasts of No Nation) will co-star and serve as an executive producer through his Green Door Pictures. Ridley will write the majority of the episodes and will direct the first two episodes. The announcement was made today by David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc.

Guerrilla is a love story set against the backdrop of one of the most politically explosive times in U.K. history. It tells the story of a politically active couple whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. Their ultimate target becomes the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. Whilst the series is set against a background of social and political activism, at its heart Guerrilla is about a relationship under pressure, and the reality that for any couple there comes a point when the choices they make have real and lasting consequences.

Along with Ridley and Elba, the executive producers will be Patrick Spence and Katie Swinden for Fifty Fathoms, Tracy Underwood for ABC Signature and Michael McDonald for Stearns Castle. The one-hour limited series is set to begin production in London late this summer, and will be a co-production between Fifty Fathoms and ABC Signature.

“We’re excited to partner with our friends at Sky to bring a fascinating and unexplored story spearheaded by John and Idris, two major creative talents at the top of their game,” said Nevins. “Guerilla will surely keep our audience at their edge of their seats.”

Idris Elba said, “It’s been a long time desire of mine to collaborate with Mr. Ridley and his work here is nothing short of a masterclass in character building and story-telling. TV is in for a treat.”

“I am both humbled by and impressed with Idris’s passion toward bringing this story to life,” said Ridley. “I share his commitment for populating the culture with driven and complicated people of color, and believe we have great partners on the producorial level, and with our broadcasters Sky Atlantic and Showtime.”

John Ridley is known for his work in literature, television, and film. Ridley is the creator of the Emmy® Award-winning series American Crime. His script for the film 12 Years A Slave received numerous accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Additionally, Ridley wrote and directed Jimi: All Is By My Side, an innovative biopic about Jimi Hendrix, which was released in the fall of 2014.

Golden Globe and SAG award-winning actor Idris Elba showcases his creative versatility both on-screen in television and film as well as behind the camera as a producer and director. Prior to his big screen debut, Elba’s career skyrocketed on the small screen in some of U.K.’s top rated shows including Dangerfield, Bramwell and Ultraviolet. Soon after his move to the States, Elba landed the role of Stringer Bell, the lieutenant of a Baltimore drug empire on the groundbreaking series The Wire. Elba is a four-time Emmy Award nominee, a four-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee and two-time winner, and a six-time Golden Globe nominee, and winner in 2012 for his critically-acclaimed lead role in Luther.

Elba’s additional television credits include Sometimes in April, The Office and The Big C on SHOWTIME. His feature films include Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, Thor, Prometheus, American Gangster, Pacific Rim, RocknRolla, Obsessed, Zootopia and Jungle Book (both which are currently breaking box office records), and No Good Deed, which he also executive produced. Most recently, he appeared in Beasts of No Nation, which earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award, London Evening Standard Award, and Golden Globe, BAFTA, NAACP and Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. Elba will next be seen in Star Trek Beyond and The Dark Tower.