A+E Networks is building out its cast for eight-hour event miniseries Roots, a remake of the iconic 1977 ABC mini.Tip “T.I.” Harris (Ant-Man, Get Hard, Entourage, The Family Hustle), Mekhi Phifer (ER, House of Lies, Divergent), James Purefoy(The Following, Rome), Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, The Good Wife), Lane Garrison (Prison Break, Bonnie & Clyde, Camp X-Ray), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Miles Ahead, Hand of God) and G. Hannelius (Dog with a Blog, Surviving Suburbia) are the latest additions. They join previously announced Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Chad L. Colman, Erica Tazel, Derek Luke, and newcomers Malachi Kirby and Regé-Jean Page.
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 (Kirby), who is captured in his homeland of 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.
Harris will play Cyrus, a headstrong slave who fights for his freedom for the Union Army against Confederate Forces; Phifer is Jerusalem,” a mute slave who works on the Murray plantation, but who is not quite what he appears to be; Purefoy will play John Waller,” the wealthy owner of a Virginia planation who buys Kunta Kinte as a slave upon his arrival in America; Goode is Dr. William Waller, the educated, charming brother of John Waller; Garrison portrays Frederick Murray,” a volatile, unpredictable Confederate officer and slave owner; Corinealdi is Belle, the wife of Kunta Kinte and G. Hannelius plays Missy,” daughter of John Waller.
The four-night, eight-hour event miniseries developed by History will simulcast on History, A&E and Lifetime.
Roots is an A+E Studios production in association with Marc Toberoff and The Wolper Organization, the company that produced the original mini. Will Packer, Marc Toberoff, Mark Wolper, Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal serve as executive producers. LeVar Burton and Korin D. Huggins are co-executive producers. Konner, Rosenthal, Alison McDonald, and Charles Murray are the writers. Grammy winner Questlove is Executive Music Producer.
Corinealdi is repped by ICM Partners, Primary Wave Entertainment and Del Shaw Moonves. Garrison is repped by Crimson Media Group, Untitled, and Abrams Artists Agency.