MLK/X’ Sets Main Cast – Deadline

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EXCLUSIVE: Disney+ and National Geographic have set the main cast for Genius: MLK/Xthe fourth installment in the anthology series, which will focus on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. (The Chicago 7 Trial) will portray Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Aaron Peter (The Underground Railroad) like Malcolm X, Weruche Opia (I can destroy you) as Coretta Scott King, and Jayme Lawson (The Batman) like Betty Shabazz. Peoples Channing Godfrey (Miss Juneteenth) will direct the pilot episode and serve as co-executive producer on Engineering: MLK/X.

Several historians and experts had come on board as production consultants before the start of the writers’ room to guide the narrative. Principal photography for the series, from 20th Television, Imagine Television and Reggie Rock Bythewood and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Undisputed Cinema, will begin in October in Atlanta.

Engineering: MLK/X, the first installment in Nat Geo’s series to stream as a Disney+ Original, will explore the formative years, pioneering accomplishments, dueling philosophies and key personal relationships of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Harrison Jr.) and Malcolm X (Peter). While King advanced racial equality through nonviolent protest, Malcolm X strongly advocated for black empowerment, identity, and self-determination. With their formidable wives, Coretta Scott King (Opia) and Betty Shabazz (Lawson), by their side, King and Malcolm X have become synonymous with the era of civil rights and the fight for racial and economic justice. Although they only met once and often argued with each other, neither would have been so successful without the other.

“We are beyond thrilled to have brought together the incredible quartet of Kelvin, Aaron, Jayme and Weruche to bring depth, complexity and humanity to these indelible icons,” the Bythewoods said. “They’re all next level in their chops and their passion for telling this story.”

Here are the historians and experts (in alphabetical order) serving as production advisors on Genius: MLK/X:

Jamal-Joseph (Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention), a former member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, is a writer, director, and professor of professional practice at Columbia University School of the Arts in the film department.
Peniel E. Joseph is a writer whose book, Sword and Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.serves as inspiration for the series and serves as a consultant.
Michele Norris is a columnist and consultant for Post Opinions and founding director of Peabody Award-winning The Race Map Project.
Dr Kameelah Rashad is the founder and president of the Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and emotional well-being in the American Muslim community.
Dr. Barbara Reynolds is an award-winning journalist, author and minister who has written several books, including Jesse Jackson, the American David and No, I won’t shut up: 30 years of telling it like it iswith a foreword by Coretta Scott King.
Ambassador Shabazzproducer, writer, diplomat and eldest daughter of Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X Shabazz, is also a consulting producer for the series.
Jeff Stetsonwhose game The meeting serves as inspiration for the series, is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter for film and television. He also wrote the pilot for MLK/X and serves as an executive producer on the series.
Jeanne Theoharisprofessor of political science at the City University of New York, has authored or co-authored eleven books and numerous articles on civil rights and black power movements.
Pastor Michael A. Walrond, Jr.Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church, has received numerous honors, honors and recognitions, including induction into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College.

“We wanted to bring together a consortium of scholars and experts who can not only contribute their vast knowledge, expertise and research, but also create a space for meaningful debate and discussion to ensure an honest representation of the complexities of these iconic geniuses. . Martin and Malcolm’s legacies are central to our understanding of social justice movements today, so we had to get it right. We couldn’t have asked for a more amazing group to guide us through their stories,” the Bythewoods added.

Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the executive producers of For Imagine Television. For Undisputed Cinema, Reggie Rock Bythewood, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Francie Calfo are executive producers. Raphael Jackson Jr. and Damione Macedon serve as showrunners and executive producers. For Madison Wells Studios, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane are executive producers. For EUE/Sokolow, Sam Sokolow serves as executive producer. Stetson is also an executive producer. Godfrey Peoples is co-executive producer. Ambassador Shabazz is a consulting producer.

Harrison Jr. was recently seen portraying BB King in Baz Lurhmann Elvis. He also plays the lead role in Fox Searchlight’s Knight, a biopic about French classical composer and violin virtuoso Chevalier de Saint-Georges, which recently premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Harrison Jr. will also voice the role of Scar in Disney’s Barry Jenkin prequel The Lion King.

Pierre is currently visible on the big screen in Brother, Clement Virgo’s adaptation of David Chariandy’s novel, which premiered at TIFF. Coming soon, Stone will be heard as the voice of Mufasa in Disney’s Barry Jenkins prequel The Lion King and in the main role of Jeremy Saulnier’s film Rebel Ridge for Netflix. We will also soon see him in a main role opposite Saoirse Ronan and Paul Mescal in the feature film by Garth Davis Enemy for Amazon Studios.

Opia starred as Terry on HBO I can destroy you receiving a BAFTA TV nomination for Best Supporting Actress as well as a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Other credits include the limited series Our house, Top Boy and the hit BBC show Inside number 9.

Lawson can currently be seen opposite Viola Davis and Joh Boyega in Sony/Columbia’s The Woman King. She appears in MGM/Orion’s Until and co-stars opposite Sasha Lane in Daniel Goldhaber’s TIFF breakout How to blow up a pipeline, which was picked up by NEON for release. Earlier this year, Lawson starred as Bella Real in Matt Reeves The Batman for Warner Bros.

Godfrey Peoples made her directorial debut with Miss Juneteenth, for which she received the National Board of Review Award for Best Debut Film and was also rewarded with nominations at the Gotham Awards and the Film Independent Spirit Awards, among others. His TV credits include Apple TV+ Roar and HBO Max Generation for the realization and OWN’s sugar queen for writing.

Harrison Jr. is replaced by WME, Anonymous Content and Del Shaw Moonves. Pierre is replaced by WME, Anonymous Content, Hamilton Hodell and Sloane Offer Weber & Dern. Lawson is replaced by UTA and Gang Tire Ramer. Opia is replaced by Curtis Brown, Anonymous Content and Sloan, Offer, Weber & Dern. Godfrey Peoples is replaced by CAA, Entertainment 360 and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

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