Aldis to Star in Scripted TV Series Based on the Underground Railroad
WGN America is moving forward with its Akiva Goldsman-produced drama Underground, giving the Underground Railroad project a 10-episode straight-to-series order with Christopher Meloni, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge and Jessica De Gouw set to star. The pickup comes weeks after NBC at TCA announced Freedom Run, an eight-hour miniseries set against the background of the underground railroad, which was put on a fast track with Stevie Wonder executive producing and writing the score for a Broadway musical based on the mini.
Underground, originally announced by WGNA in August, also is expected to have a top music name involved. I hear Kanye West is in talks for a role on the music side of the series.
Underground, from Sony Pictures TV and Tribune Studios, follows a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation to cross 600 miles to freedom, aided along the way by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad, as they evade those tasked with bringing them back, dead or alive.
Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights) plays Rosalee, a shy house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage; Aldis Hodge (Turn) is Noah, a brave and clever slave on the plantation with dreams of freedom and a dangerous plan to escape; Law & Order: SVU alum Meloni is August, a secretive mercenary who walks a tightrope between survival and morality; De Gouw is Elizabeth, a socialite who shares her husband‚Äôs abolitionist ideals.
The series was created and written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski (Heroes), who also serve as executive producers with Goldsman from Weed Road Pictures, along with Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold from Safehouse Pictures. Anthony Hemingway (Treme) is set to direct the series‚Äô first two episodes. Production is set to begin this spring for a 2016 premiere.
Underground is WGN America‚Äôs fifth straight-to-series order to date. The first two, Salem and Manhattan, already have been picked up for Season 2. Also starting production this spring is new drama Outsiders, also from Sony TV and Tribune Studios. Ten Commandments, co-produced by The Weinstein Company, is in pre-production.
Meloni, repped by Gersh and Industry Entertainment, is filming Wet Hot American Summer for Netflix. Hodge is repped by Paradigm. Smollett-Bell is repped by ICM Partners, Storefront and Darrell Miller at Fox Rothschild.
Disappointing Update About The After
Sorry for the delayed notice on this. I just found this update from January. I’ve been waiting for more news about The After and sadly, this is what I found.
January 5, 2015
Amazon Studios has dropped its series order for the Chris Carter drama ‚ÄúThe After.‚ÄĚ
Amazon ordered the show to series last March, along with five other projects, after getting strong viewer feedback to the pilot that debuted on Amazon Prime last February.
Amazon would not elaborate on why the series was tabled but offered a statement from Roy Price, veep of Amazon Studios. Only the pilot was produced.
See More:Amazon Greenlights 6 Series, Including Chris Carter‚Äôs ‚ÄėThe After,‚Äô and Renews ‚ÄėAlpha House‚Äô
‚ÄúWe have decided to not move forward with ‚ÄėThe After,‚Äô ‚ÄĚ said Price. ‚ÄúWe would like to thank Chris Carter, the phenomenal cast, crew and producers for all their efforts.‚ÄĚ
The pilot produced last year featured a large ensemble cast including Adrian Pasdar, Sharon Lawrence, Jamie Kennedy, Aldis Hodge, Andrew Howard, Arielle Kebbel, Sam Littlefield, Louise Monot and Jaina Lee Ortiz. It first aired on the Amazon Prime platform in February.
Amazon gave ‚ÄúThe After‚ÄĚ a platform as part of its presentation at last summer‚Äôs Television Critics Assn. press tour. The drama revolved around eight strangers forced to survive in a violent world that defies explanation. Carter, creator and exec producer of ‚ÄúThe X-Files,‚ÄĚ said at TCA that he was using Dante‚Äôs ‚ÄúInferno‚ÄĚ for inspiration.
Amazon‚Äôs most recent original series entry, the comedic drama ‚ÄúMozart in the Jungle,‚ÄĚ has been generally well received by critics. And the Jeffrey Tambor starrer ‚ÄúTransparent‚ÄĚ helped put Amazon Prime on the pop culture map last year thanks to the critical raves for the Jill Soloway dark comedy about a family man who comes out as transgender.
The netcaster ramped up its series efforts for Amazon Prime in late 2013 with the comedies ‚ÄúAlpha House,‚ÄĚ which was renewed for a sophomore season, and ‚ÄúBetas,‚ÄĚ which was not.
Ice Cube Debuts ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Trailer
Ice Cube gave fans at an Australia concert the first look at the N.W.A. biopic ‘Straight Outta Compton’, which he produced.
Before he became a world-famous solo rapper and actor, Ice Cube was part of the groundbreaking and controversial gangsta rap group N.W.A., which burst onto the scene in 1988 with their debut album Straight Outta Compton. Nearly 30 years later, Ice Cube is producing the N.W.A. biopic also entitled Straight Outta Compton, and, during a recent concert in Australia, the rapper gave fans an early look at the first trailer. It isn’t known when Universal Pictures is releasing the official version quite yet, but you can get your first look at the biopic below.
The story is set in the mid-1980s, when the streets of Compton, California were some of the most dangerous in the country. When five young men translated their experiences growing up into brutally honest music that rebelled against abusive authority, they gave an explosive voice to a silenced generation. Following the meteoric rise and fall of N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton tells the astonishing story of how these youngsters revolutionized music and pop culture forever the moment they told the world the truth about life in the hood and ignited a cultural war.
Along with producing the biopic, Ice Cube’s own son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., portrays his father, alongside Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E), Corey Antonio Hawkins (Dr. Dre), Aldis Hodge (M.C. Ren) and Neil Brown Jr. (DJ Yella). Paul Giamatti also stars as the group’s manager, Jerry Heller, with Keith Stanfield portraying Snoop Dogg. We’ll keep you posted as soon as the official trailer debuts, but, for now, check out this new footage below.
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