A+E Networks has found the lead for their Roots reboot. British actor Malachi Kirby has nabbed the lead role as Kunta Kinte – a role that was played by Star Trek: The Next Generation and Perception star LeVar Burton in the original 1970s miniseries.
Kirby is the latest addition to the cast of Roots, which is gearing up for a late 2015 production star. CSI and The Matrix star Laurence Fishburne was previously cast in the reboot as Alex Haley, the author of the novel that the 1970s miniseries and this new reboot is based on.
Based on Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Roots originally aired on ABC in 1977 and starred Levar Burton as Kunta Kinte, who is abducted from Gambia and sold into slavery in the United States. The 1970s series followed the story of Kinte and those who followed him as they continued 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 new mini-series – which will air simultaneous on A&E, History and Lifetime in 2016 – will again be based on the novel and tell the story of Kunta Kinte but will include more material from Haley’s novel as well as carefully researched new scholarship of the time. A&E, History and Lifetime’s sister studio A+E Studios is set to produce alongside The Wolper Organization – the company that produced the original. Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal, Alison McDonald and Charles Murray are penning the scripts. Mark Wolper and Will Packer serve as executive producers. A+E Studios International will handle global distribution.